The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says warehoused Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) can no longer be used during elections as every voter must be authenticated with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
The Director-General of The Electoral Institute (TEI), Dr Sa’ad Idris, stated this at the political parties’ polling agent training workshop and Training of Trainers (TOT) in Abuja on Monday.
Idris said that election personnel, including political party polling agents, must be knowledgeable of their roles and what is expected of them.
“New innovations in the voting system that polling agents need to be aware of include the BVAS which was introduced into our electoral process during the conduct of some elections in 2021. The BVAS adds facial technology to the existing fingerprint authentication and this will ensure that all voters are authenticated by either of the technologies.
“With bi-modal authentication, no person can come to vote more than once, as the face or the fingerprints of the person would have been captured during accreditation. This further ensures a one-person-one-vote system. It is necessary to emphasise that warehoused PVCs can no longer be used during elections as every voter must be authenticated with the BVAS.
“The enactment of the 2022 Electoral Act has also helped the voter accreditation process, as the law now recognises technology (Section 47 (2) of the Act), and there are clear punitive measures for the non-usage of accreditation devices on election day.
“Also, the total number of accreditation for an election will be sourced from the total number accredited using the commission’s accreditation device – BVAS. The BVAS is, therefore, the only means for accreditation of voters on election day,” he said.
Idris, who maintained that in addition, to improve the openness and credibility of elections, INEC decided to make available electronic copies of the PU Result Sheet (EC8A) for the general public to view, adding that this brought about the INEC Results Viewing (IReV) Portal.
“This implies that the EC8A form filled and signed by each Presiding Officer (PO) is scanned or photographed and uploaded to a Public Domain which can be viewed by the General Public. This system ensures that the EC8A filled at the PU is the same as that brought to the Collation centre, as the RA Collation Officer checks the uploaded EC8A before collating the result.”
Idris said that the participants were expected to cascade the training to all other party agents at different levels before the commencement of the 2023 general election.
In his remarks, Chairman, Board of Electoral Institute (BEI), Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, reiterated INEC’s determination to ensure that every valid vote counts and the will of the people prevails in 2023 general elections.
Zuru, who said that INEC was determined to make the forthcoming elections free, fair, credible, inclusive, transparent and verifiable, stressed that INEC was committed to the deployment of the BVAS for voter verification, authentication and accreditation.
“To ensure absolute transparency, the BVAS will also be used to upload accreditation data and election results to the IReV in real-time on Election Day to enable all Nigerians and foreigners to follow the election as it happens. The commission is determined to ensure that every valid vote will count, the will of the people will prevail, and the 2023 General Election will be free, fair, credible, inclusive, transparent and verifiable.
“To this end, we just concluded nationwide mock accreditation exercise on Saturday, Feb. 4, where we tested the field performance of the BVAS. The results of the test were very successful and response of Nigerians across the country very pleasing. Therefore, be reassured that we are indeed very ready for the 2023 general election.”
He said that the training was designed to equip party agents with the code of conduct of party agents on election day as well as highlight their role and responsibilities in line with the regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections 2022 and the Electoral Act 2022, adding: “This training is quite significant as Political parties are empowered by Sections 43 (1 & 2) of the Electoral Act, 2023, to appoint agents to protect their interest at all the Polling Units where elections will be conducted across the country, as well as designated Collation centres.”
He implored all participants to take the training with utmost importance as the task of conducting peaceful credible and acceptable election was a collective responsibility you share with the INEC.
The participants included the national organising secretary, national publicity secretary, women leader and youth leader of each party or their representatives.