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Why Nigerians must monitor mock BVAS accreditation – INEC Chair

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged registered voters in the 436 designated Polling Units (PUs) nationwide to participate in Saturday’s mock accreditation exercise…

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged registered voters in the 436 designated Polling Units (PUs) nationwide to participate in Saturday’s mock accreditation exercise with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the call yesterday in Abuja, when he received a delegation of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), led by its president, Mr Anthony Banbury.

He also urged registered voters who had yet to collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to use the opportunity of the extension of the deadline to collect them.

He said INEC was committed to free, fair and credible elections and the will of Nigerians would prevail.

“One of the things that we have decided to do is to ensure that we test run the device by conducting a mock accreditation exercise. We have announced that this exercise is going to happen on Saturday, February 4, meaning it is going to happen this weekend.

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“So once again, I seize the opportunity of this visit to appeal to Nigerians to please go to the designated polling units. We have 436 of them, 12 PUs in each state of the federation and four in the FCT so that they can test run this device.

“In the unlikely event of challenges, we have time between the conclusion of the exercise and the general elections to respond to the challenges. But we are very happy with the functionality of the machines so far, particularly the tests carried out on the number of machines received in preparation for the general elections,” Yakubu said.

He urged civil society organisations (CSOs), the media, political parties and Nigerians across the board to observe where they wished in the deployment of the BVAS for the mock exercise on Saturday.

On the preparations for the 2023 general elections, Yakubu said INEC had made tremendous progress in terms of acquisition and delivery of materials for the election.

He said the largest chunk of materials required for the election, both sensitive and non-sensitive, were already in various locations.

The INEC boss said basically, INEC was good to go and that by February 9, the commission would commence the training of election duty staff.

Yakubu said having released the timetable for the election in February 2022 and identified 14 activities, the commission has successfully implemented 12 activities, thus only two activities are outstanding.

He said, “The first one is the end of the campaign by political parties, which by law is 24 hours before polling day, which is going to be on the 23rd of February for the presidential election and the state governorship and State Assembly and then the Election Day proper, which is on the 25th of February for the presidential and National Assembly on the 11th of March for the state elections.”

Speaking earlier, Banbury said whatever happens in Nigeria’s forthcoming elections would have an impact on other elections coming up this year around the globe.