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This weekend, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be conducting a trial voter accreditation drill in readiness for the upcoming off-cycle gubernatorial polls in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.
The commission has clarified that this endeavor is integral to their dedication to fostering a flawless and technologically sophisticated electoral mechanism.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had designated November 11 as the date for the gubernatorial elections in the three states. With a combined registration of 5,409,438 voters across these states, 51 candidates are poised to contest the elections.
However, a statement yesterday by INEC’s national commissioner and chairman Information and Voter Education, Sam Olumekun, said, ‘The mock exercise, scheduled for Saturday, October 14th, 2023, from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, aims to test the efficiency of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the seamless uploading of polling unit results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).’
Olumekun pointed out that this move highlights INEC’s strong commitment to elevating the use of technology in both voter accreditation and result management.
The statement further said, ‘To facilitate this test run, INEC has already uploaded the list of designated polling units for each state on its website and social media platforms, ensuring transparency and accessibility of information.’
‘This exercise will allow the Commission to identify and address any potential challenges, thereby ensuring the successful use of BVAS and IReV on the actual Election Day.’
It was stressed by INEC that the mock voter accreditation exercise is explicitly a dry run and should not be confused with the official election.
According to INEC, it was suggested that registered voters in the designated polling units should engage in the exercise and present their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) for verification.
‘This innovative approach by INEC demonstrates its commitment to conducting credible and technologically advanced elections, providing voters with confidence in the electoral process. As the mock exercise unfolds, the Commission will closely monitor and learn from the experience, further strengthening its preparations for the crucial governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States,’ the statement said.
INEC further stated thag ‘For the forthcoming elections, there are 1,056 862 registered voters in Bayelsa State; 2,419,922 in Imo State; and 1,932,654 in Kogi State, making a combined total of 5,409,438 registered voters for the three States. As provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities, soft copies of the complete register of voters for each State will be presented to the political parties participating in the elections.’
‘For emphasis, 16 political parties are sponsoring candidates in Bayelsa State, 17 in Imo State, and all the 18 parties in Kogi State. State Chairmen of political parties or their designated representatives are invited to attend the event which will take place at the Collation Centres in the State Headquarters of the Commission in Lokoja, Owerri, and Yenagoa on Thursday 12th October 2023 at 10.00 am.’