200,000 biometric voters accreditation system for 2023 election ― INEC

• says trust deficit, makes Commission print ballots outside Nigeria

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said about 200,000 Biometric Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), would be required by the commission to effectively conduct and efficiently transmit the 2023 elections.

INEC Commissioner, Festus Okoye, in charge of the voters’ education and enlightenment, for the commission, said this on channels television, Wednesday morning.

The programme, which was monitored by our correspondent, sought to know why the nation would spend about N305 billion for the conduct of the national election.

Explaining on factors that made the budget high, Okoye said the huge cost of materials for the election and the processes to ensure integrity and garner public trust was responsible for the high cost of the national election.

He said the commissioning was retiring the smart card system for a more efficient BVAS.

“As you are aware, the commission is introducing new technology into the electoral process and it is a multi-purpose technology, that will take care of the issue of voters card and issue of transmission of electoral results.

“And so we are going to acquire this technology afresh. As you heard the chairman said we have retired the smart card reader because it is not serving us the way we want.

“So this new technology has to be acquired. Our projection is that, since we have a total of 176,846,000 polling units,
we need at least 200,000 Biometric Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), for the purposes of this elections and we have to make provisions for this early enough, place orders for them, bring them in. It takes a lot to acquire this.

“What is important is that you do not have to voters about voters registration anymore; you do not meet to acquire a new device for accreditation; you do not need a new device for transmission of the result and it may last the country about two or more electoral cycle,” Okoye explained.

He pointed out that, all of these would be effective when the national assembly and the Presidency resolved the issue around the electoral Act amendment bill.

“We have made it very clear severally, that there are very many provisions in the bill that was forwarded to the President for assent. It will be to the glory of the electoral process and many Nigerians if it comes to play at the 2023 elections.

He said the Commission would require a quick resolution, to the issues of the presidential withdrawal of assent for electoral Act amendment bill for easy conduct of 2023 elections in the country for timely deployments ahead of the general elections.

Okoye added that one of the factors that have also made elections expensive in Nigeria was the case of the desperation of political interest that forced the commission to employ a lot of secret measures on the printing of sensitive materials.

According to him the trust deficit between the political parties, interests and the commission “makes it imperative for us to keep hiding.

The INEC Commissioner said this has forced the Commission to print outside the country, a measure that increases the cost of the national election.

“We do not want a situation where we give the contract for security documents and some political interest will start travelling from one security printer or the other to compromise colour coding of the ballot papers, he said on national TV.

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