By Rebecca Mu’azu
Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC have assured citizens of a credible election and says people with Disabilities have been given due consideration during voting in the 2023 elections.
The Resident Commissioner in Gombe State, Mr. Umar Ibrahim, said INEC had a strong policy on People with Disabilities, because it had made provisions for people living with leprosy, those without legs will be given priority to move, as well as pregnant women and the elderly and those with impaired sight to be provided with magnifying glass and braille ballot will be provided for the completely blind.
Mr. Umar also gave assurances that the use of the Bimodal Voter Authentication System, BVAS, would ensure that every eligible voter voted during the election.
He said the BVAS had two ways of verifying and authenticating genuine voters and as such, people need not fear that they would be disqualified from voting.
Explaining further on the use and benefits of the BVAS, the Head of ICT and Voter Registry, ICT-VR, Mr. Bitson Filibus, said the machine had three functions on Election Day, which are accreditation, through the biometrics or facial authentication, the transmission of verified data of total number of voters to the INEC Server and the transmission of election results to the INEC Server.
“During accreditation, when the PVC does not belong to you, don’t even waste your time, because we will not accreditate you. No one human being has the same biometric with another human being and including even the face,” Mr. Filibus said.
He said there were a lot of shortcomings associated with the card reader, like failing to capture some voters’ biometrics, such as fingerprints, of which the use of BVAS had come to solve, with the two-way verification by the BVAS.
“The Commission has introduced the 4-4-2, scanning four fingers at a time and the last two. It has the proper scanning and uploading of the finger prints during CVR,” Mr. Filibus stated.
He cautioned those who may consider using someone else’s to be warned, because the BVAS had been used in off-season elections and those trying to use other people’s cards to discard the idea, because they would be found out.
Mr. Filibus said the BVAS was much secured for a credible outing in 2023.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Gombe State said the BVAS Machine had been tested and trusted to provide the near perfect elections in the country.
“We have tested these machines in off-season elections starting from Anambra, Ekiti, Osun and other places and they have worked perfectly. Now, there is no way you are given two ways of identifying yourself and one if you cannot do that. If your finger is not your finger, your face cannot be someone else’s face. So at least with these two, one must be identifiable. And if both of them are not identifiable, automatically you have a clone PVC,” said Mr. Ibrahim.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Gombe State said the Commission had re-launched the collection of the Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC on the 12th of November, 2022 and was scheduled to continue till 5th January, 2023 in LGA Offices, while it will available in the Registration Areas, RAs would be from the 6th to 15th January, 2023 and that from 16th to 22nd January 2023, it would be again return to LGA Offices for collection.
Mr. Ibrahim said so far, all outstanding PVCs had been received by INEC in Gombe State and that their collection was ongoing at the various LGA offices.
He said the number of uncollected PVCs in Gombe State as at December 20 was 231, 900, but urged the public, especially those who registered, transferred, updated their bio-data or requested for replacement of their lost or damaged PVCs to go and collect them.