The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State on Saturday conducted a mock accreditation exercise in 12 Polling Units across six Local Government Areas to test the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) ahead of the polls.
The exercise which began at about 8:30 am and ended at 2:30 pm recorded a massive turnout of voters across the selected LGAs.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, who monitored the conduct of the exercise in Surulere, Ikeja and Somolu LGAs gave satisfactory remarks on the functionality of the BVAS.
According to him, intending voters got accredited within one or two minutes through the BVAS.
He said, “We have been to six stations, two each in Surulere, Somolu and Ikeja LGAs. So far the machines are working effectively and there is no challenge or problem, and this has been confirmed by the people.
“The essence of this is to show our people that BVAS will work. If politicians will allow us to do our work, we will work effectively. We don’t want politicians to compromise our staff by bypassing BVAS.
“So far, we have not seen any problem if the finger fails, the face works well for accreditation of all that turned out.
“What we need to know is that these machines can effectively accredit our voters and that has been tested in all the six stations we have visited, and I am more than satisfied that INEC is ready to go.
It would be difficult for the BVAS to be faulty because they are all new. Aside from this, the commission has backups in the case of any unforeseen circumstance.
Agbaje warned politicians against conniving with any INEC staff to bypass the BVAS to vote illegally stressing that BVAS is basically for voters’ accreditation before they would be eligible to vote on election day.
He said, “BVAS is to improve people’s confidence in what INEC is doing because this is just like a game changer.
“If compromised and there is overvoting in any polling unit, the whole vote in such unit will be cancelled.
“So, all of them must work together with INEC in honesty and sincerity. If we are honest and sincere with ourselves, the system will give us good results.
INEC would also put its house in order and would not send to the field any official that could embarrass the commission. Anyone caught conniving with politicians to bypass BVAS will face the consequences.”
A potential voter in Polling Unit 035, Ward 2 located at Enitan Primary School and resident in Aguda, Surulere, Mr Afeez Sulaiman, expressed satisfaction with the conduct, saying, “this process is very fast, it took me about two minutes to get accredited when I presented my card,”
Mrs Chinyere Joseph, a voter at Polling Unit 015, Ward 8, Igbobi-Fadeyi, Somolu, who described the process as fast and very good, said it didn’t take her one minute to get accredited.
However, a politician in Somolu, Mr Kazeem Jolaosho observed that the machine failed in finger accreditation for some voters, but the facial accreditation worked perfectly.
He said, “The finger accreditation through BVAS is not without hitches like the facial accreditation. We want INEC to work on this.”
An observer from the Guild of Public Affairs Analysts of Nigeria in Ikeja, Mr Stephen Aya, commended INEC for the functionality test.
He urged politicians to cooperate with the commission to achieve free fair and credible polls.