Seven weeks after the Anambra Governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, reviews exercise, says despite the challenging security situation, the election passed off peacefully and the outcome adjudged to be free, fair, transparent and credible.
At a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakub thanked all contributors to the success story, including staff of the agency, security agencies civil society organisations, media among others for their dedication which led to peace before, during after the elections.
He reminded, that the Commission piloted two important technological innovations in the Anambra State Governorship election that is the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS, which replaced the Smart Card Reader for verification and authentication and was deployed for the first time in a major election after its successful pilot in the Isoko South one State Constituency in Delta State in September this year.
Professor Yakubu noted BVAS technology was designed in-house by INEC engineers and like every new technology, glitches were observed and important lessons learnt assuring 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.
According to him, the BVAS has come to stay just like the uploading of Polling Unit results on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal in real-time on Election Day saying that the introduction of technology in voter accreditation and result management is better than the best entirely manual process as it increases public confidence in the process.
He pledged the commission’s resolve to continue to deepen the use of technology in elections adding that the second technological innovation used in the Anambra Governorship election which was seemingly unnoticed by many were the dedicated portals created by the Commission to handle different aspects of the electoral process such as the nomination of candidates by political parties, uploading of nomination forms, the accreditation of election observers and the media are all now done online.
The INEC boss observed that for the first time in the history of the Commission, the accreditation of polling and collation agents nominated by political parties was done online and this according to him, ensured that all such agents were provided with identification tags bore their personal photographsin addition to their party logos, names and other personal details saying they will maintain the same arrangement for all forthcoming elections, including the 2023 General Election.
He reminded political parties that in choosing their candidates for elections, they must abide by the provisions of the law, INEC’s regulations and guidelines as well as their Constitutions and guidelines. INEC will monitor the primaries as required by law and as such, Political parties must hold themselves to the same high standard of free, fair, transparent and credible elections that they expect from INEC during general elections and any political party that fails to conduct democratic primaries within the timeframe provided in the Commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities cannot be expected to submit the names of candidates to INEC for elections.