The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says there was no hitch in the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) mock accreditation conducted in 12 Polling Units across six local government areas (LGAs) in Lagos State on Saturday.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, disclosed this to newsmen after monitoring six out of the 12 selected polling units in the three senatorial districts of the state.
Commenting after monitoring the exercise in Surulere, Somolu and Ikeja, he said that the functionality of BVAS in accrediting intending voters was another test that INEC was ready for the forthcoming elections.
Agbaje said: “We have been to six stations, two each in Surulere, Somolu and Ikeja LGAs; so far, the machines are working effectively and there is no challenge or problem, and people have confirmed this.
“The essence of this is to show our people that BVAS will work. If politicians will allow us to do our work, we will work effectively. We don’t want politicians to compromise our staff in bypassing BVAS.
“So far, we have not seen any problem; if the finger fails, the face works well for accreditation of all that turned out.
“What we need to know is that these machines can effectively accredit our voters and that has been tested in all the six stations we have visited, and I am more than satisfied that INEC is ready to go,” the REC said.
According to him, within one or two minutes, voters who turned our got accredited through BVAS.
Agbaje, who said that it would be difficult for the BVAS to be faulty because they were all new, said that the commission had backups to arrest unforeseen circumstances.
He urged political gladiators not to connive with any INEC staff to bypass the workings of BVAS and vote illegally.
The REC said that BVAS work was basically to accredit voters before they would be eligible to vote on election day.
“BVAS is to improve people’s confidence in what INEC is doing because this is just like a game changer.
“If compromised and there is over-voting in any polling unit, the whole vote in such unit will be cancelled.
“So, all of them must work together with INEC to be honest and to be sincere. If we are honest and sincere with ourselves, the system will give us good results,” he added.
Explaining BVAS bypass, Agbaje said that some politicians could connive with INEC staff to smuggle printed ballot into the box without passing through accreditation.
He said that results of those places would be cancelled if noticed through over-voting.
Agbaje said that INEC would also put its house in order and not send to the field any staff that could embarrass the commission.
“Anyone caught conniving with politicians to bypass BVAS will face the consequences,” he said.
Assessing the process, Mr Afeez Sulaiman, a registered voter at Polling Unit 035, Ward 2 located at Enitan Primary School, Aguda, said it was fast.
“This process is very fast, it took me about two minutes to get accredited when I presented my card,”
Mrs Chinyere Joseph, a voter at Polling Unit 015, Ward 8, Igbobi-Fadeyi, Somolu, also said it didn’t take her one minute to get accredited.
The PDP Candidate for Somolu Federal Constituency, Mr Oluwaseyi Olowu, popularly known as Chicago, who applauded INEC for the ‘perfect and seamless’ voter accreditation, urged the commission to sustain the success on election day.
However, a PDP Chieftain in Somolu, Mr Kazeem Jolaosho, who commended INEC for the mock, noted that the machines failed in finger accreditation for some voters, but the facial accreditation worked perfectly.
“The finger accreditation through BVAS is not without hitches like the facial accreditation. We want INEC to work on this,* Jolaosho said.
An observer from the Guild of Public Affairs Analysts of Nigeria in Ikeja, Mr Stephen Aya, while commending INEC’s efforts at making elections more credible, urged politicians to cooperate with the electoral body.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the INEC monitoring team led by Agbaje visited Polling Unit 035, Ward 2 located at Enitan Primary School, Aguda, and Polling Unit 019, Ward 7 located at Rabiatu Thompson Crescent Primary School, Shitta/Ogunlana in Surulere LGA.
The team.also monitored the exercise at Polling Unit 040, Ward 5 located at Omo Alade Alafia Street., Mafowoku and Polling Unit 015, Ward 8 located at Ogatimirin Street., Igbobi-Fadeyi in Somolu LGA.
Agbaje’s team was also at Polling Unit 010, Ward 1 located at the front of No.5, Abeokuta Str, Anifowose/Ikeja and Polling Unit 017, Ward 10 located at the Junction of Irewole/Joseph Str, Wasimi/Opebi/Allen in Ikeja LGA.
The mock accreditation exercise also took place in Ikorodu, Eti-Osa and Agege LGAs.
INEC embarked on mock accreditation of voters to test the functionality of the BVAS ahead of the 2023 General Election in the state.
NAN reports that BVAS was introduced by INEC for the accreditation of voters through biometrics capturing, uploading of polling results and other functions.