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Deployment Of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System Satisfactory, Says INEC Chairman

By Nathaniel Gana

16th September 2021 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed satisfaction with the performance of the newly deployed Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

The BVAS was piloted in the Isoko South 1 State Constituency Bye-Election held in Delta State on Saturday 11th September 2021.

Speaking during the official ceremony to welcome three new National Commissioners and one Resident Electoral Commissioner in Abuja yesterday, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, affirmed that all the registered voters that turned up for the election were accredited at an average of three minutes per voter using the IVED, with no incident of multiple voting.

He said: “Nigerians may recall that the Commission made history on 8th August 2020 by successfully conducting the first election in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election. In that election, the Commission also piloted the first real-time uploading of polling unit results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV). Since then, the results of 26 more elections have been uploaded to the portal. 

“Only last weekend, we piloted yet another innovation in the Isoko South 1 State Constituency bye-election in Delta State. We introduced the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for efficient human recognition through a biometric verification mechanism using both fingerprint and facial recognition of voters. The result of the pilot in the 84 polling units was very encouraging indeed.

“It took an average of just one minute for the device to correctly locate the voter in the system and another two minutes to authenticate a voter. In terms of the ruggedness of the device and its battery life, no single BVAS was replaced due to the discharge of the battery throughout the voting period. Most importantly, the device guaranteed the credibility of voter accreditation by preventing the incidents of multiple voting or the use of stolen PVCs to vote. All voters were accredited electronically using the BVAS. The use of the incident form was eliminated. The Isoko South 1 State Constituency bye-election was historic in this respect.”

However, Prof Yakubu admitted that there were a few challenges. He said that matching the voter’s live image against the image on the voters’ register was challenging in a few instances due to the quality of pictures of some voters arising from the previous registration.

“Secondly,” he added, “some polling units were not bright enough when taking the photo for the facial authentication. Thirdly, there was the age-old problem of thuggery during elections. Our officials were attacked, and five BVAS devices were snatched by hoodlums. Although, this did not affect the elections because we deployed extra devices as part of our contingency measures, the incident is being investigated by the Police.

Prof. Yakubu assured Nigerians that the Commission would address the identified challenges, including installing a mechanism to disable and tract the device in the event of theft by hoodlums. He said the tool would be activated ahead of the November 6th Anambra Governorship Election.