Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) can work even in the most remote parts of Nigeria where there is no GSM network coverage.
The INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Barrister Festus Okoye said this while speaking to journalists in Lafia on Wednesday 14th December 2022, during a capacity-building workshop organized by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in conjunction with INEC.
He said: “The BVAS works offline. The BVAS no dey work with network. It works offline for voter authentication and accreditation. So don’t join the propaganda to say the commission has not fully explained to us how this BVAS is going to work in remote areas. That is propaganda. That is misinformation.”
Festus Okoye also stated that contrary to worries expressed in some quarters that INEC may decide not to use the BVAS in the forthcoming elections, provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act makes it mandatory for the BVAS to be used for voter accreditation and authentication.
On the issue of electronic transmission of results, Festus Okoye assured that the electoral commission has the capacity to transmit election results in real time on election day as they have done in bye-elections that have held in the country since 2020.
He described as propaganda, all allegations that INEC does not have the capacity to conduct credible polls in the country using the newly introduced innovations.
“Of course, some politicians do not like the electoral act. They don’t like the new innovations that have been introduced in the electoral act. They prefer the electoral act of 2010. They also don’t like technology because it frees them of that power they have to manipulate the electoral process and rig elections.”
He therefore called on the media to partner with INEC to push the right information to the public so as to further sanitize the electoral process and boost the confidence of Nigerians that their votes will count.
Also speaking at the workshop, the National President of NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo said the workshop was organized to enlighten the journalists on some of the new provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act as well as the technological innovations that have been introduced to make the polls more credible.
The NUJ President who was represented by the National Treasurer, Dele Atunbi urged the journalists to arm themselves with adequate knowledge on the electoral process so as to give good account of the pen profession in their coverage of the general elections.
While calling on security agencies to provide protection for journalists on election duty, he also appealed to the journalists to be security conscious and professional.
There were also paper presentations on the impact of the 2022 Electoral Act as well as that of the newly introduced technologies on the 2023 general elections.