The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday in Abuja revealed that a mock accreditation exercise would be held on Saturday, February 4, 2023 in 436 polling units nationwide to test the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) ahead of the general election.
INEC’s National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) held at the national headquarters of the commission, with the purpose of putting finishing touches to the preparations for the 2023 general election.
He said 12 polling units had 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.
Yakubu noted that 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) would be uploaded on the Commission’s website.
The chairman informed the RECs that movement of materials for the election to various locations nationwide was being concluded.
He added that training of officials would commence shortly, while ongoing consultations with stakeholders would be intensified.
He further explained that critical service providers in the area of transportation had reassured the commission of their commitment to efficient logistics for the movement of materials and personnel to various locations while the security agencies had reaffirmed their readiness for the election.
According to the INEC Chairman, 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.”
Yakubu stated further: “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 Thursday 26th January 2023, 839,720 PVCs had 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.”
Yakubu said: “As you are already aware, the Commission has taken delivery of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines for the election. We have also dutifully tested each machine in our offices nationwide to ensure its functionality.
“The next step is to conduct field tests across the country involving actual voters. For this reason, and in readiness for nationwide deployment, the Commission is conducting a mock accreditation of voters similar to what was done ahead of the recent Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections.”
The chairman appealed to registered voters in the affected polling units to appear on the scheduled date with their PVCs for the mock exercise.
Yakubu noted that doing so would help to reassure the public of the robustness of the system and to strengthen our processes ahead of the general election.
He said Civil society organisations, the media and the general public are welcome to observe the process.
The chairman said at the end of the exercise, the 436 BVAS machines involved would be reconfigured before they are deployed for the general election.
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja