The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has reassured Nigerians of its commitment to credible polls in the forth coming general election.
INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated this in his address at the opening ceremony of a retreat for national commissioners.
According to the chairman, the Commission has concluded work on the Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and Election Project Plan for the 2023 General Election.
He also added that the commission have identified the challenges associated with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) during voter accreditation.
He said “The Commission has concluded work on the Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and Election Project Plan for the 2023 General Election. Very soon, we will finalise work on the Regulations and Guidelines for elections taking into consideration the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. The three documents will be published and presented to the public next month i.e. April 2022.
“May I also seize this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that we have identified the challenges associated with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) during voter accreditation. In the recent bye-elections in six constituencies in four States of the Federation across four geo-political zones, the BVAS functioned optimally in rural, sub-urban and urban areas of Cross River, Imo, Ondo and Plateau States. We received no complaints from voters and no reports of glitches from observers in these bye-elections. We will continue to perfect the system in the forthcoming bye-elections and the end of tenure Governorship elections in Ekiti State on 18th June 2022 and Osun State on 16th July 2022.
“The Commission is also working on the distribution of voters to polling units across the country following the successful expansion of voter access to polling units. Very soon, we will roll out the plan for achieving a more balanced distribution of voters to the polling units. As always, we will engage with stakeholders across the board to ensure a more participatory approach so that the exercise is seamless and voters will have a more pleasant experience at polling units on Election Day.
“The Commission is encouraged by the response of citizens to the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise. Recently, the Commission devolved the physical registration beyond our State and Local Government offices nationwide. Millions of Nigerians have registered so far and we have been giving Weekly updates of the progress of the exercise for the last nine months.
“The Commission is aware that new registrants as well as those who applied for transfer or replacement of the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) would like to know when the cards will be available for collection. The reason why we have not made the PVCs available is because of the robust system of cleaning up the registration to ensure that only genuine registrants are added to the voters register using the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) for fingerprint and facial clean up. I am glad to report that the Commission has completed the ABIS for the first and second quarter of the CVR. The Commission is meeting next week and the detailed dates and locations for the collection of PVCs will be announced.”
He however charged the national commissioners to be credible election managers.
“However, while these innovations and stakeholder engagements are critical to preparations for elections, we should bear in mind that equally critical to the conduct of successful elections is our credibility as election managers: our impartiality, dogged adherence to rules, commitment to the sanctity of the ballot and sound knowledge of the electoral process. This retreat is important, especially coming shortly after we released the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election in which party primaries are scheduled to commence next week and end in the first week of June i.e. 4th April to 3rd June 2022,” he said.