As the November 6 Anambra State Governorship Election is fast approaching, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the deployment of a Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to ensure proper accreditation of prospective voters.
The BVAS, a product of the integration of the Smart Card Reader and Z-Pad will ensure fingerprint authentication during the Accreditation of voters and eliminate any need for the filing of incident forms.
Integrated into the INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED), the system will combine fingerprint and facial authentication to ensure that the person holding the PVC is the one that will vote.
Prof Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) disclosed this during the 3rd Quarterly meeting of the commission and the Registered Political Parties, held on Monday at the INEC headquarters, Abuja.
With the elimination of incident forms, he said all voters must undergo electronic authentication to vote in the election.
According to the INEC Chairman, “The functionality of the Z-pad has now been integrated into the IVED currently used for voter registration. On Election Day, the same device will be used for the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for fingerprint authentication during accreditation and where it fails for facial authentication.
“We believe that this multi-layer process will eliminate the possibility of voting by identity theft using another person’s PVC. Where the voter fails both the fingerprint and facial authentication, he/she will not be allowed to vote meaning no electronic authentication, no voting.
“We are convinced that the new machine is robust enough to further guarantee the credibility of voter authentication and transparent management of results during elections.
“The BVAS will now perform the functions of both the SCR and Z-Pad in the bye-election. Thereafter, it will be deployed in the Anambra Governorship election in November”.
He said the Commission would carry out a pilot exercise using the new device in Delta State during the Isoko South 1 State Assembly constituency bye-election holding this weekend.
Meanwhile, the commission has bemoaned the conflicting orders coming from courts of coordinate jurisdictions as well as endless litigations which Prof Yakubu said is acting as obstacles to the work of the commission.
He lamented that the more the commission tries to prove the electoral process and ensure credibility and transparency of the process, the more additional obstacles and traps are laid for INEC by political party stakeholders.
Acknowledging the recent intervention of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the INEC Chairman warned politicians that the commission has powers to bite as a regulator.
“The Commission appreciates the recent statement by His Lordship the Chief Justice of Nigeria as well as the strongly-worded concern by the Nigerian Bar Association. We will work with both the Bar and the Bench to defend the electoral process in the best interest of our democracy.
“By the same token, as Chairmen and leaders of political parties, you have a role to play. I wish to remind you that INEC is both an umpire and a regulator. The Commission is an umpire in dealing even-handedly with political parties collectively, but when it comes to the management of intra-party affairs, it is a regulator. We will play our role decisively,” he asserted.