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INEC insists on deploying technology in forthcoming elections

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has maintained its ground on the deployment of technology in managing Nigeria’s complex electoral system, saying it is better than the best manual process.

This comes hours after President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill which contained clauses on the electronic transmission of election results and imposition of direct primaries on political parties.

Specifically, the INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu speaking on Tuesday in Abuja during a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), said with INEC’s Automatic Biometric Identification System (ABIS), the commission has been able to prevent multiple registrations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) ahead of the Area Council Polls.

According to him, the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) which has now replaced the Smart Card Reader for verification and authentication of voters have come to stay.

He said, “As you are aware, the Commission piloted two important technological innovations in the Anambra State Governorship election. The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS was deployed for the first time in a major election after the successful pilot in the Isoko South I State Constituency in Delta State in September this year.

READ ALSO: INEC wants N305bn for 2023 elections

“The BVAS has replaced the Smart Card Reader for verification and authentication as part of our improved voter accreditation process. The new technology was designed in-house by INEC engineers. Like every new technology, glitches were observed and important lessons learnt.

“We wish to assure Nigerians that the Commission has reviewed the performance of the BVAS in Anambra State and there will be a tremendous improvement leading to optimal performance in future elections.”

Furthermore, he said, “The BVAS has come to stay. So too is the uploading of Polling Unit results on the INEC Result Viewing IReV portal in real-time on Election Day.

“We are convinced that the introduction of technology in voter accreditation and result management is better than the best entirely manual process.

“It also increases public confidence in the process. We will continue to deepen the use of technology in our elections. The second technological innovation introduced in the Anambra Governorship election went virtually unnoticed by many Nigerians.

“For some time now, dedicated portals were created by Commission to handle a different aspect of the electoral process. For instance, the nomination of candidates by political parties, including the uploading of nomination forms, is now done online.

“This has sanitized the process and made the identification of ghost party agents easier. We will maintain the same arrangement for all forthcoming elections, including the 2023 General Election.”

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