By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Nigerians especially Anambraians that the Commission will deploy relevant and appropriate technology including the newly introduced Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the conduct of the November 6 Anambra State Governorship election.
It also disclosed that it will use its new technological device to upload election results from the Polling Unit (PU) level to its central result viewing portal which every Nigerian that has access to internet can view on INEC website.
These reassuring words were contained in the Keynote Address delivered by INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu at a One-Day Forum organised by INEC Press Corps with the Theme: Inclusive Election in Anambra State and Beyond which took place at Iinternational Conference Center (ICC), Abuja on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.
Yakubu who was represented at the event by Barrister Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education Committee, promised that the Commission is favourably disposed to deliver free, fair and credible election in Anambra state.
Said he: “To this end, the Commission will deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the accreditation of voters. The bimodal accreditation system will use fingerprints or facials for efficient voter accreditation. Therefore, those engaged in identity theft must steer clear of the polling units in Anambra State as only voters that are properly authenticated using their fingerprints or facials will be allowed to vote”.
Yakubu also said: “the Commission will also use its new technological device to upload polling unit level results to its central result viewing portal. Nigerians that have access to internet facilities can log in and view the results as they are being uploaded. For this, we have commenced elaborate voter education and publicity activities in the State”.
The INEC boss used the platform to assure Nigerians that preparations for Anambra governorship election are in top gear as eight out of 14 items in the Election Time- table have been concluded while two items- Display of Voters Register and publication of names of the contestants will come up in few days.
He also said: “the tenure of the incumbent Governor of Anambra State will expire on the 17th day of March 2022. Pursuant to section 178(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended) and section 25(7) and (8) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), the earliest date for the election into the office of the Governor, Anambra State shall be the 18th day of October, 2021 and the latest date for the election shall be 15th day of February, 2022.
“By virtue of the provisions of section 1978(2) of the Constitution and section 25(8) of the Electoral Act, election into the office of a State Governor shall hold not earlier than One Hundred and Fifty days (150) and not later than Thirty Days (30) days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of the office.
Meanwhile, the INEC Chairman has described the Nigerian media especially members of the INEC Press Corps as partners in progress, adding that he will like the media to continue to educate the electorates and political parties to always play by the rules.
Said Yakubu: “We cannot underrate the role of the media in our electoral process. A well informed and rational media is an asset to the democratic process. On Monday, 4th October, 2021 the Commission will open its online media accreditation portal and close on Tuesday, 26th October, 2021.
“Only accredited media organizations will be allowed to cover the election. While access to polling units is open to all accredited journalists’ covering the election but, due to limited space and on account of the pandemic INEC will allow only one accredited representative per radio station and two per television station, (reporter and cameraman) and newspaper (a reporter and one Photographer) to the collation centres”.
Also speaking at the event, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, commended the INEC Press Corps for their invaluable contributions in the promotion of the Commission especially since Prof. Yakubu took over the affairs of the electoral umpire.
Oyekanmi however said the activities of some fake journalists are creating problems for true professionals, pointing out that authentic journalists should try to identify and punish the quacks.
In his remarks the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba represented by Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, CSP, who stood in for Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, CP, said the Nigerian Police is battle-ready for the Anambra governorship election on November 6.
The occasion was graced by political party chieftains like Bishop Amachree and top members of Civil Society groups including the Albino Foundation led by Jake Epelle and Auwal Musa Rafsanjani of Transparency International among others.
However, the attendees have lauded the leadership of INEC Press Corps for organizing the Forum ahead of the November 6 Anambra state governorship election.