Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Information and Voter Education Committee says the commission is gradually getting set for 2023 general election.
Okoye said this when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday, saying that Saturday’s mock accreditation was aimed at setting ground for hitch-free conduct of the election.
“INEC is gradually getting ready for the 2023 general elections and technology will play an important role,” he said.
Okoye said that the Polling Units for the mock accreditation were carefully selected to test the efficacy of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
“INEC is fully ready to conduct the mock accreditation in all the PUs where this exercise will take place.
“All our Resident Electoral Commissioners are aware of the exercise and in conjunction with the Electoral Officers they harvested these Pus where this exercise will take place.
“We selected some Pus in the urban areas, someone the semi-urban areas and some in rural areas because we also want to test the efficacy of some of the networks we are using for results upload in these pulling units.
“We are fully ready for the exercise and the people in the affected PUs have been sensitise that there will be mock accreditation in their PUs,” he said.
He said that the exercise would be purely for accreditation without voting, from 8.30 a. m to 2.30pm.
“Immediately after the exercise we are going to sponge the data on our BVAS and reconfigure them for the purpose of 2023 general election,” Okoye said.
He added that all national commissioners would be deployed to monitor the exercise, saying that while some would move from one state to another, others would remind in the various states they supervised.
“Nigerians should cooperate with our officers that are going to carry out this mock accreditation and also get ready to exercise their democratic franchise on the days of these elections.
“One of the things that we have decided to do is to ensure that we test run the device by conducting a mock accreditation exercise.
“We have announced that this exercise is going to happen on Saturday, Feb. 4, meaning it is going to happen this weekend. So once again, I seize the opportunity of this visit to appeal to Nigerians to please go to the designated polling units,” he said.
NAN reports that the mock accreditation aimed at test running the BVAS will take place in 436 of the designated PUs nationwide.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said that in the unlikely event of challenges, INEC had time between the conclusion of the exercise and the general election to respond to the challenges.
“But we are very happy with the functionality of the machines so far, particularly the tests carried out on the number of machines received in preparation for the general election,” he said.
Yakubu appealed to Civil Society Organisations, the media, political parties and Nigerians to observe the mock accreditation to monitor the efficiency of the system.(NAN)