Edo Decides 2020 Latest Politics

GUBER POLL: INEC says Edo too ‘charged’ for use of z-pad technology

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would no longer use the z-pad for the Edo State governorship election.

The commission had initially planned to use z-pad, a new innovation it said would serve as a secondary means of achieving full biometric accreditation of voters, using facial image, during Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State.

It had test-run the z-pad during the Nasarawa State bye-election recently.

However, speaking at the Edo Governorship Election Stakeholders’ meeting in Benin on Monday (today), the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu said that the atmosphere in Edo State was currently too charged to use a technology that has not been fully certified.

According to him, the piece of technology would no longer be used because it had both hardware and software issues.

He said, “The atmosphere in Edo State ahead of the election this weekend is already charged; we cannot afford to complicate it further by introducing a new technology we are not yet fully satisfied with.

“Perhaps the most critical of the recent innovations introduced by the commission is the use of a tablet now popularly called the z-pad. It is a new innovation introduced to serve as a secondary means of achieving full biometric accreditation using facial image of the voter in support of the fingerprint authentication by the Smart Card Reader.

“Secondly, the camera on the tablet will be used to take a picture of the polling unit result (EC8A) and to upload same on a dedicated portal (INEC RESULT VIEWING – IReV).

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“This will enable all those interested in viewing the results to do so in real time. The commission deployed the z-pad in the Nasarawa Central state constituency bye-election in Nasarawa State on 8th August 2020. It was a test-run intended to assess the functionality of the technology before its deployment in major elections. While the capture and upload of polling unit level result went on smoothly, the facial authentication did not.

“Without going into the technical details, let me say that the commission encountered hardware and software issues which needed to be fixed,” Yakubu said.

Speaking further he said “Our ICT department worked on the new device and made a presentation to the commission which decided that the system needs to be robust enough before it can be deployed in a major election.

“Unlike the 44 polling units of the Nasarawa Central state constituency, the Edo Governorship election involves 2,627 polling units. The commission decided that since this technology is work in progress, we should carry out a further test-run in some of the smaller constituencies during the bye-elections scheduled for 31st October 2020 and thereafter engage with stakeholders before it can be deployed in major elections”.

Yakubu, however, assured that INEC would as it earlier promised, upload polling unit level results in the Saturday election.

He equally reiterated the commission’s commitment to ensure that the electorate votes will count in the emergence of the winner of the Saturday poll.

“Our ultimate objective is to ensure that the choice of who becomes the next governor of Edo State is entirely in the hands of the voters. I wish to reassure you that votes will count and only the choice made by the people of Edo State will determine the outcome of the election.

“The commission shall not take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. Our focus is on our processes and procedures. Nothing more.”

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