Election observer group, YIAGA Africa has urged the National Assembly to accelerate passage of electoral amendment bill legalising the deployment of technology for accreditation, voting and transmission of election results.
Director Programmes, Ms Cynthia Mbamalu gave the advice on Friday in a statement made available to newsmen in Awka, Anambra state.
She said the step would further support the work of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), provide ample time for familiarization of the improved legislation and build citizens’ confidence in the electoral process.
She also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its consistent effort to improve the quality and transparency of elections in the country, describing the deployment of technology in the exercise was a welcome development.
The group was reacting to INEC’s plans to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for accreditation of voters and to enable near real-time viewing of results.
According to Mbamalu, BVAS as a multifunctional integrated device would serve multiple purposes for different activities in the value chain of elections in Nigeria.
She urged INEC to commence an immediate review and timely release of the manual and guideline for election especially election observation groups getting ready for the Anambra governorship election.
She said, “The BVAS can serve as the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) during voter registration, serving for voter accreditation on election day which replaces the Smart Card Reade.
“It will also serve as the INEC Results Viewing Device (IReV Device) to be used for election results upload on election day.
“This recent innovation is worthy of commendation especially because it is designed to ensure full voter authentication on election day.
“Where fingerprint authentication fails, facial authentication will be done. Where both fingerprint and facial authentication fails, the voter will not be allowed to vote,” it said.
Mbamalu said the deployment of the new machine would further guarantee the credibility of the voter accreditation and result management process and by extension promote transparent elections.
She said it would significantly reduce or possibly eliminate incidents of multiple voting, PVC buying and selling and PVC theft.
According to her, the machine will go a long way in guaranteeing the sanctity of the ballot as well as boost citizens’ confidence in the process and encourage citizens’ participation.
“Yiaga Africa looks forward to the BVAS pilot exercise in the Isoko South State Assembly Constituency bye-election in Delta State.
“We urge the Commission to document critical lessons from the deployment, make an effort to bridge any gap identified and train its ad-hoc staff to build their capacity on how to use the BVAS,” she added.