By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
Determined to keep improving on the conduct of elections in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured the Media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that it will continue to explore the use of technology to achieve the set goals of delivering a credible, free and fair elections in the country.
It also disclosed that the Commission will in two days (Thursday) compile and publish the Voters Register for claims and objections before releasing the clean copy for the Anambra Governorship election of November 6, 2021.
This is even as INEC has revealed that it going forward, it will use a new technology, Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to conduct future elections.
These were made public on Tuesday by the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu at the 3rd Quarterly Consultative Meeting with the Media at INEC Conference Room, Abuja.
According to him BVAS will be used, first, for fingerprint authentication during accreditation and where it fails, facial authentication will be used to authenticate the voter.
Professor Yakubu however hinted, the Commission intends to carry out a pilot exercise using the new device in Delta State during the Isoko South 1 State Assembly constituency bye-election holding this weekend (Saturday, September 11, 2021.
Said he: “The BVAS will now perform the functions of both the Smart Card Reader (SCR) and Z-Pad in the bye-election. Thereafter, it will be deployed in the Anambra Governorship election in November”.
Speaking further on Anambra Governorship election, the INEC boss said: “In the next two days, the Commission will compile the register of new voters and publish same throughout the State for claims and objections.
“Thereafter, we will clean up the data, print the PVCs for collection by registrants and compile the actual register of voters to be used in each of the 5,720 polling units in the State.
“I want to assure every newly registered voter in Anambra State, including those who applied to transfer from within and outside the State or for the replacement of damaged or lost PVCs that their cards will be printed and made available to them for collection before the election.
Meanwhile, INEC Chairman solicited for the cooperation of the media in helping the Commission in its work just as he assured them that INEC will continue to partner with the media in the best interest of Nigeria’s electoral process and democracy.
However, media practitioners were shown first hand the working of BVAS as a presentation of the new device and a practical demonstration of its functions was conducted by Engr. Chidi Nwafor, INEC Director, Information and Communications Technology (ICT).