The Trouble With Anambra Election, By INEC

3 years ago
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Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of Nigeria’s electoral umpire, INEC, thanks Anambra voters, says last-minute withdrawal of technically trained ad-hoc staff for fear of attacks was responsible for BVAS failure in some places.

Much of the problem encountered in using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines during the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State had more to do with operators of the system at polling units who lacked the technical knowledge required to operate the device.



Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated this during an interactive meeting with online publishers held at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

READ ALSO: Anambra Election: Saraki, Obidike Congratulates Soludo

Yakubu said the security situation in the state at the time of the election had forced last-minute withdrawal by INEC’s ad hoc staff who were adequately trained to work in the election. The situation, according to Yakubu, also caused other logistical challenges and made it difficult for the electoral body to dispatch its rapid response technicians to places where the machines did not work.

He explained that the Anambra governorship election was the first major election that the BVAS technology was deployed for use, and was more like a pilot test.

He said, “The deployment of the BVAS in the Anambra Governorship election was the second pilot test. It was intended to achieve two objectives. First is voter accreditation to replace the Smart Card Reader. The second is the uploading of polling unit results on the IReV portal to replace the z-pad.

“The BVAS performed optimally in uploading results on the IReV but there were the usual challenges associated with the pilot of new technology in a major election.
“From our assessment so far, much of the glitches encountered on Election Day in Anambra State had little to do with the machines but more with the operators of the system. The extraordinarily difficult circumstances under which the Election was held meant that some of the better-trained ad hoc staff withdrew at the 11th hour. Similarly, some critical service providers such as vehicle owners also withdrew, thereby severely affecting our plans for rapid response by our technicians – the Registration Area Technical (RATECH) Staff.

He remarked that, above all, the election was adjudged to be free and fair, adding that deployment of the BVAS technology despite the glitches, has shown that the commission was determined to “deepen the deployment of technology in the electoral process.
“Given the credible conclusion of the election, it has strengthened our belief that even the minimal introduction of technology in voter accreditation is better than the best manual process,” The INEC Chairman said.

He thanked voters in Anambra for exercising patience and having Faith in the device during the election, adding that it showed that the citizens have the belief that deployment of more appropriate technology during elections was imperative for ensuring integrity in the electoral process in Nigeria.

Yakubu also highlighted efforts of the commission in ensuring social inclusion by procuring materials and adopting processes that enable disabled persons to participate in an electoral process.

On the relationship between INEC and the media, he said it has been cordial and urged the media to contain incidents of fake news, especially during elections, pointing out that some individuals who want to undermine the electoral system take advantage of online platforms to spread false narratives thereby misleading the public.

Speaking at the event also, the INEC national commissioner and chairman, information and voter education, Barr. Festus Okoye, stressed the need for understanding the legal and constitutional mandates of the election body in managing electoral issues so as to avoid misconstruing the activities of the commission.

Okoye urged media professionals to seek official clarification on serious national issues regarding electoral matters.

In his remarks, the executive director, Institute for Media and Society (IMS), Dr Akin Akingbulu implored stakeholders in the electoral system to address the challenges faced by the media in the electoral process.


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