Deployment of technology in elections better than best manual process – INEC




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By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the deployment of technology in elections is better than the best manual process.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye disclosed this on Thursday in a statement he signed and made available to Sundiata Post.

Barr Okoye informed that while the Commission awaits the reports of all officials deployed for the election for an indepth review of the processes, it met on Thursday and conducted an initial review of the Anambra Governorship election.

That is why, in the Ihiala supplementary election, there were no reported incidents of BVAS malfunction, Okoye said. Stressing that the Commission will carry out an in-depth examination of the system, review reports from accredited observers and the media and respond to all identified challenges ahead of the next major Area Council election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), holding on 12th February 2021.

According to him, “after the supplementary election in Ihiala Local Government Area on Tuesday 9th November 2021 and before the process was concluded, the Commission commenced a preliminary review of the functionality of systems, particularly the newly introduced Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). The system performed two functions on election day. First is the accreditation of voters using both the fingerprint and facial authentication. Secondly, it snaps the polling unit level result sheets and uploads them in real-time to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal.

The statement reads in part:

“This aspect of the BVAS functionality performed optimally such that by the early hours of Sunday morning, results from 4,987 (88.5%) out of 5,634 polling units had been upoladed for public view. While still in the field, our ICT team responded to the identified glitches in the accreditation of voters and corrected them. Consequently, in the Ihiala supplementary election, there were no reported incidents of BVAS malfunction. We will carry out an in-depth examination of the system, review reports from accredited observers and the media and respond to all identified challenges ahead of the next major Area Council election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), holding on 12th February 2021.

“We shall again test run the system in the bye-election (s) that may arise before then. The Commission remains convinced that despite some glitches experienced in Anambra State Governorship election, the deployment of technology in elections is better than the best manual process.

“The 2021 Anambra State Governorship election was conducted under the most challenging circumstances. Never before did the Commission have to grapple with numerous issues ahead of an off-season Governorship election, including attacks on our facilities, withdrawals of critical service providers such as the ad hoc staff and transporters on the eve of the election and the general tension pervading the atmosphere.. Happily, the election passed off peacefully.

“The Commission expresses its gratitude to the security agencies, election duty officials, political parties and candidates, the National Peace Committee under the leadership of our former Head of State, His Excellency, General Abdulsalami Abubakar GCFR, religious and community leaders, socio-cultural associations, civil society organisations and the media for the enormous sacrifice and support in ensuring that the election was conducted and peacefully concluded.

Okoye therefore called for the support of all Nigerians in the forthcoming elections, reiterating that INEC will continue to work hard to protect the sanctity of the ballot and to conduct free, fair and credible elections anywhere in Nigeria.