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All BVAS needed for 2023 polls ready before December – INEC

All Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) needed for the 2023 general elections would be ready before December. The assurance was given in Abuja on Thursday…

All Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) needed for the 2023 general elections would be ready before December.

The assurance was given in Abuja on Thursday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education and Information Committee, Mr Festus Okoye.

He spoke as a panellist at a seminar on “Optimising technology to safeguard people’s will’’ organised by the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Association.

Okoye said all BVAS to be used in 27 states were already available.

“We will have the full complement of the BVAS for the 2023 elections; both in the 176,846 polling units and in the 8,809 Registration Areas on ground before December.

“We shall have a BVAS in each polling unit and we are going to have at least two stand-by BVAS in each of the registration areas,’’ he said.

The commissioner also said that at the end of on-going nationwide display of voters register on Nov. 25, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, would address the nation on the modality for collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

He said while the PVCs of those who registered before Jan. 15 were ready for collection, those that registered between Jan. 15 and July 31 would be ready by December.

Speaking on the security of INEC’s ICT platforms, Okoye said beyond the provision of adequate security against hacking, there was also adequate backup for the platforms.

He said that going by INEC’s performance in recent elections in Osun, Ekiti, Anambra and Osun, citizens’ confidence in the Commission had continued to improve.

Okoye said that with the optimising of technology, INEC had been able to build portals for political parties to nominate their candidates online.

It had also built portals for observers and the media to register for election observation as well as portal for voter registration.

He added that the Commission had also enhanced its technology to improve voter accreditation during elections, which made it to jettison Card Readers for BVAS.

The national commissioner also listed the design of another portal for real-time INEC results viewing to eliminate rigging of elections.

“What we have done is to try and see in what ways and by what means technology can assist the Commission to do its work better and that’s exactly where we are today,’’ Okoye said.

In his contribution, Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Mr Samson Itodo, who spoke on “Issues in voter registration and managing voters’ role’’, advised voters to play their roles in ensuring that the 2023 general elections were not manipulated.

Another panellist, Chairman, Editorial Board, ThisDay Newspapers, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi, who discussed “the anatomy of public distrust in election management’’, expressed confidence in the capacity of INEC to conduct credible elections in 2023.

Adeniyi urged Nigerians not to take the country’s election for granted but to defend it. (NAN)