The Independent National Electoral Commission, on Wednesday told the European Union Election Observation Follow0up Mission that the newly signed Electoral Act has many progressive provisions that would help the umpire achieve greater credibility.
Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, while receiving the team in Abuja, said technology has assisted his commission to deepen electoral credibility further since 2019.
He added that for the Osun and Ekiti governorship elections, the INEC has resolved to use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
Yakubu said the confidence to use the technology derived from the successes recorded in the previous elections were the devices were deployed.
“Clearly, the biggest progress made by the Commission since 2019 is in the area of deepening the deployment of technology in elections. INEC is the first electoral commission in West Africa, if not Africa as a whole, to upload Polling Unit level results to a portal in real-time on Election Day.
“In addition, there are other portals for ease of nomination of candidates and submission of list of Polling Agents by political parties and the accreditation of media, domestic and international observers,” Yakubu said
Speaking on BIVAS, the INEC boss said a lot of progress has been made with the use of the device, “We have also made a huge progress in the area of voter accreditation through the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). We have carried out a number of pilots and in spite of the challenges encountered in some locations, we are convinced about its efficacy. In the six bye-elections conducted last weekend in 4 States of the Federation, the device performed optimally in both rural, sub-urban and urban areas where the elections were held. We will continue to carry out more pilot test of the BVAS and deploy the same device in the forthcoming Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections and ultimately the 2023 General Election.”
Yakubu said immediately after the 2019 general election, the commission undertook a comprehensive review of the election observation reports by accredited domestic and international observers.
He added, “Beyond that, we conducted our own internal review involving our regular and ad-hoc officials and subsequently expanded it to include political parties, civil society organisations, security agencies, media organisations.”
He explained that INEC identified 178 recommendations.
“We then categorised them into three areas for the purpose of implementation. We have gone ahead to implement many of the recommendations that require administrative action by the Commission while working with the National Assembly on areas that require legislative action by way of amendments to the Electoral Act and the Constitution.
“Happily, this meeting is coming only 5 days after the Electoral Act 2022, which contains many progressive provisions, was signed into law and barely 24 hours after the National Assembly considered wide raging amendments to the 1999 Constitution.”
He told the team that shortly after the Electoral Act was signed into law, the Commission released the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election which contains 14 activities out of which two have already been implemented.
“These are the publication of the Notice of Election and the availability of nomination forms on a dedicated portal for downloading by political parties.”