Ekiti 2022: INEC Cannot Afford to Fail With Deployment of Technology, Says Yiaga Africa

Ekiti 2022: INEC Cannot Afford to Fail With Deployment of Technology, Says Yiaga Africa

  • Preparations are ongoing to hold the first election in Nigeria since President Mohammadu Buhari signed the new Electoral Act into law
  • The June 18 gubernatorial election in Ekiti state has been regarded by many political pundits as a litmus test to ascertain the effectiveness of the newly signed Electoral Act
  • Meanwhile, election observation group, Yiaga Africa is also geared up to monitor the entire process of the elections

Yiaga Africa has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure effective deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) at the upcoming governorship election in Ekiti state.

This is contained in the organization’s third pre-election observation report for Ekiti state made available to Legit.ng.

Ekiti 2022, INEC, Election, Yiaga Africa
Yiaga Africa has urged INEC to engage in a simulated voter accreditation exercise with the BVAS before its deployment. Photo: Sadiq Adelakun
Source: Original

According to Yiaga Africa, while the BVAS achieved reasonable success in the Isoko-South 1 Constituency bye-election in Delta state, their deployment in state-wide elections like the Anambra governorship election and the FCT area council election was marred with widespread reports of the BVAS not functioning adequately and experiencing other challenges which led to the extension of voting time on election day.

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The report says that the Ekiti election presents another opportunity for the assessment of the functionality of the BVAS and the capacity of INEC to resolve all challenges observed with the BVAS deployment in Anambra and FCT.

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How electoral act supports BVAS

Yiaga Africa says the deployment of BVAS is particularly important because the new Electoral Act provides for the deployment of a technological device for the accreditation of voters.

Similarly, INEC guidelines have made it mandatory to deploy the BVAS as the device now plays a central role in safeguarding elections and in guaranteeing that technical glitches do not disenfranchise every eligible voter who turns out to vote.

Yiaga Africa said:

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is responsible for ensuring that the BVAS functions optimally in the Ekiti state election.

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“This will need INECs commitment to ensuring the mock voter accreditation exercise to test the effectiveness of the BVAS is conducted ahead of the Ekiti election as stated during the quarterly stakeholders meeting held on May 11, 2022."

Yiaga proposes simulated accreditation exercise with BVAS

Yiaga further urged INEC to ensure the conduct of a mock voter accreditation exercise with the BVAS before its deployment for the Ekiti governorship election while encouraging the commission to increase its voter education/information efforts, especially in underserved communities.

The report for the Ekiti election also revealed persistent voter inducement ongoing in the state.

The report said:

“Political party campaigns were observed across the state with more reports of voter inducement received. This is closely related to the increasing adoption of door-to-door campaigns making it easier for direct voter inducement.”

Other findings in the report include visible voter education/information by stakeholders through the medium of workshops, voter sensitization programs, posters, social media, jingles, and TV and radio programs.

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Ekiti 2022: Yiaga Africa trains, deploys observers across all 16 LGAs

Meanwhile, Yiaga Africa says it has trained and deployed its observation team across the 16 local government areas in Ekiti state.

No fewer than 24 observers were certified to oversee the pre-electoral and electoral proceedings of the gubernatorial elections in the state.

According to Yiaga, the involvement of women, youth, and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) is crucial in the observation of the electoral process.

Source: Legit.ng

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