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What we will do if BVAS fails – INEC reveals

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Independent National Electoral Commission

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said it has plans should the Bimodal Voter Registration System fails during the 2023 general elections.

The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, who spoke on Channels Television’s ‘Sunday Politics’, noted that the Commission had trained technicians who would be on standby at polling units.

There had been speculations about the possibility of server failures in the course of the transmission of election results through BVAS, especially by some politicians.

Okoye on Sunday noted that the electoral body had already made provision for the use of the BVAS in the over 176,000 polling units in the country. He, however, noted that INEC also made provision for spare BVAS machines in the case of any failure.

“For each electoral ward, we are going to have some spare BVAS to be deployed speedily if there is any issue or any challenge in any of our polling units. We have also trained technical support staff that can also intervene if there is any challenge with the BVAS.

“But if there is sustained malfunction of the BVAS up to the time of the closing of the poll, the Electoral Act demands that we should undermine voting in that particular polling unit and repeat voting within 24 hours,” Okoye stated.

He earlier described as “an impossibility”, the plan by any politician who was already allegedly harvesting PVCs to rig the elections.

According to INEC, BVAS technology that will be used for the accreditation and authentication of voters in 2023, will reject biometric data of persons who are not original owners of traded permanent voters cards.

“In terms of any politician bypassing the BVAS, I want to tell you that that will not happen, that is an impossibility,” Okoye said.

“Anybody who is purchasing a permanent voter card is just engaging in an exercise in futility. The only thing any person can do is to make sure the voter does not vote on election day but for you to come to the polling unit on election day with a voter’s card belonging to someone else, and you attempt to vote with it, that is an impossibility, the BVAS will not capture your fingerprint,” Okoye said.

INEC also noted that polling units near politicians’ homes had been removed.

He said, “We removed polling units from the palaces of traditional rulers, we removed polling units that are near the homes of politicians, we removed polling units that are in shrines, we also removed polling units from places we consider not conducive for electoral business.”

Okoye also admonished voters to support the commission’s efforts through shared responsibility and mandate protection to ensure free and fair 2023 elections.

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