The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is set to conduct mock accreditation of voters similar to what was done ahead of the recent Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections.
This follows delivery of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines for the forthcoming general elections.
Chairman of the Commission, Mahmoud Yakubu, who confirmed readiness of the INEC, on the exercise said the Commission has dutifully tested each machine in nationwide to ensure its functionality.
Yakubu who spoke at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners, REC, in Abuja, on Friday said, the next step is to conduct field tests across the country involving actual voters, adding that, “In readiness for nationwide deployment, the Commission is conducting a mock accreditation on Saturday 4th February 2023 in 436 polling units nationwide.
“Twelve polling units have been designated in each State of the Federation and four in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the equality of the country’s 109 Senatorial Districts for the exercise.”
He said a comprehensive list of the polling units, including their names and PU Code numbers, as well as their distribution by State, Senatorial District, Local Government and Registration Area (Ward) will be uploaded to the Commission’s website.
Yakubu appealed to registered voters in the affected polling units to appear on the scheduled date with their PVCs for the mock exercise, pointing that “Doing so will help to reassure the public of the robustness of our system and to strengthen our processes ahead of the General Election. Civil society organisations, the media and the general public are welcome to observe the process. At the end of the exercise, the 436 BVAS machines involved will be reconfigured before they are deployed for the General Election.”
He reported that movement of materials for the election to various locations nationwide is being concluded while training of officials will commence shortly.
He said, “Ongoing consultations with stakeholders will be intensified. Airlifting and delivery of sensitive materials to States of the Federation has gone far. Accreditation of national and international observers and the media is being finalised. Critical service providers in the area of transportation have reassured us of their commitment to efficient logistics for the movement of materials and personnel to various locations while the security agencies have reaffirmed their readiness for the election.”
He however noted that the Commission is aware that there are a few issues to be addressed. “One of them is the ongoing collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs). The Commission is encouraged by the determination of registered voters nationwide to collect their PVCs and the actual level of collection so far. For instance, in Lagos State, which has the highest number of registered voters in the country, the Commission delivered 940,200 PVCs from the recent voter registration exercise (June 2021 to July 2022) for both new registrants and requests for transfer and replacement of cards. As of yesterday Thursday 26th January 2023, 839,720 PVCs have been collected representing 89.3% of the total figure.
“This meeting with RECs will consider reports from other States of the Federation and the Commission will not hesitate to consider additional measures to ensure that all citizens have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the General Election. We wish to assure Nigerians that the Commission will always be responsive to the needs of the electorate.”