The introduction of technology in the electoral process will test the Electoral Act 2022, a civil society organisation, Yiaga Africa has said.
The organisation said this is because the new electoral act legalised the use of technology for accreditation and transmission of election results.
This was disclosed by its Media Officer, Moshood Isah in Abuja yesterday. during the organisation’s latest “WatchingTheVote: 4th National Pre-election Observation Report” ahead of the forthcoming election.
Isah noted that while this is not the first time the Independent National Electoral Commission (INC) will deploy technology for the conduct of elections, it is the first time it is fully backed by the Electoral Act.
The statement reads: “Nigeria’s new electoral act will be tested on a national scale during the forthcoming 2023 general elections. The election is being held one year after the law came into effect, following presidential assent on February 25, 2022. The Electoral Act 2022 legalises the use of technology for accreditation and transmission of election results. While this is not the first time the commission will deploy technology for Nigeria’s election, this is the first time it is fully backed by the Electoral Act. No doubt the pre-election period has witnessed more attempts by some sections of the political class to discredit the deployment of technology in the election.
“However, the deployment of technology like the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the accreditation of voters for instance is now a mandatory requirement for elections and beyond just a policy by INEC. In addition, the deployment of the INEC Election Result Viewing Portal (IReV) will provide polling units level results uploaded from each polling unit using the BVAS.
“Notwithstanding the supposed resistance to technology, these innovations in the Electoral Act provide positive anticipation on the part of many voters that the process will be more transparent to guarantee the integrity of the elections. In this reporting period, INEC has concluded a nationwide test of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). The exercise entailed testing of hardware and software components of the BVAS to ascertain their functionality ahead of deployment.
“The report of the observation of the BVAS test is attached as Appendix 1 to this report. The observation revealed the need for INEC to ensure that each BVAS deployed functions optimally and is used as required across all polling units in Nigeria where elections will be conducted.
“The days leading to the election remain critical for INEC to address all challenges observed from the BVAS testing and the subsequent mock accreditation exercise. In addition, INEC needs to provide updates on the recently conducted hardware testing and configuration of the devices and invest in providing adequate information/voter education on the BVAS to bridge the knowledge gap within the populace.”