The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Feb. 4 for the mock accreditation of voters with its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in 436 polling units nationwide.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made this known at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday in Abuja.
Yakubu said that the exercise would take place in 12 designated Polling Units (PUs) in each state of the federation and four PUs in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“As you are already aware, the Commission has taken delivery of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines for the election.
“We have also dutifully tested each machine in our offices nationwide to ensure its functionality.
“The next step is to conduct field tests across the country involving actual voters.
“For this reason, and in readiness for nationwide deployment, the Commission is conducting a mock accreditation of voters similar to what was done ahead of the recent Ekiti and Osun State governorship elections.
“The mock accreditation will hold on Feb. 4 in 436 polling units nationwide.
“Twelve polling units have been designated in each State of the Federation and four in the FCT on the equality of the country’s 109 Senatorial Districts for the exercise.
“A comprehensive list of the polling units, including their names and PU Code numbers, as well as their distribution by State, Senatorial District, Local Government and Registration Area (Ward) will be uploaded to the Commission’s website shortly.”
Yakubu appealed to registered voters in the affected polling units to appear on the scheduled date with their PVCs for the mock exercise.
He said that doing so will help to reassure the public of the robustness of INEC system and to strengthen its processes ahead of the general election.
He said that the civil society organizations, the media and the general public were welcome to observe the process.
“At the end of the exercise, the 436 BVAS machines involved will be reconfigured before they are deployed for the General Election,” Yakubu said.
Yakubu who said that the meeting was to put finishing touches to INEC preparations for the 2023 general election, reassured Nigerians of INEC commitment not to disenfranchise any Nigerian of its right to vote.
“am glad to report that movement of materials for the election to various locations nationwide is being concluded.
“Training of officials will begin shortly. Ongoing consultations with stakeholders will be intensified.
“Transportation and delivery of sensitive materials to States of the Federation has gone far.
“Accreditation of national and international observers and the media is being finalised.
“Critical service providers in the area of transportation have reassured us of their commitment to efficient logistics for the movement of materials and personnel to various locations while the security agencies have reaffirmed their readiness for the election.”
Yakubu, however, said that INEC was aware that there were a few issues to be addressed, including the ongoing collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).
He said that INEC was encouraged by the determination of registered voters nationwide to collect their PVCs and the actual level of collection so far.
“For instance, in Lagos State, which has the highest number of registered voters in the country, the Commission delivered 940,200 PVCs from the recent voter registration exercise (June 2021 to July 2022) for both new registrants and requests for transfer and replacement of cards.
“As of Thursday, a total of 839,720 PVCs have been collected representing 89.3 per cent of the total figure.
“This meeting with RECs will consider reports from other States of the Federation and the commission will not hesitate to consider additional measures to ensure that all citizens have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the General Election.
“We wish to assure Nigerians that the Commission will always be responsive to the needs of the electorate.”