The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reaffirmed its commitment to conducting the governorship elections scheduled for November 11th in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo states.
INEC’s Acting Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mary Nkem, made this declaration during a People’s Townhall on Election Security held in Abuja.
In her address to the public, Nkem assured Nigerians that the commission was fully prepared for the upcoming elections. She highlighted several key measures put in place to ensure a smooth and transparent electoral process, addressing concerns raised from past experiences.
One significant development is the real-time uploading of polling unit results to the Result Viewing Portal (IReV). Nkem emphasized that this feature would enhance transparency and allow citizens to track election results as they are collated.
She also stated that all technical glitches that marred the earlier general elections in the year had been successfully resolved. To ensure the timely delivery of sensitive election materials, INEC has implemented a plan to deploy ad hoc officers to polling units a day before the election.
This strategy aims to streamline the logistics of the electoral process and minimize disruptions. Nkem explained, “Rather than people moving from the local government headquarters to the various polling units, they are moved closer to the PUs (polling units) where they are going to work. So, I can assure you that God willing, we will deploy early.”
In terms of material readiness, Nkem revealed that sensitive election materials would be transported from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) vaults to the respective states of Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo by Monday, ensuring that everything is in place well ahead of the election day.
Furthermore, INEC conducted a successful mock accreditation exercise approximately three weeks ago in all three states to confirm the functionality of the Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), voter accreditation, and the upload of polling unit results to the IreV portal. Nkem emphasized that these mock exercises were executed seamlessly.
Responding to questions regarding the challenges with the IreV portal during the 2023 presidential election earlier in February, Nkem reassured the public, stating, “Sure, we had a post-election review, and all of these things that went wrong were identified.”
She elaborated that although there were technology glitches, the results were eventually uploaded to the IreV platform. She added that during the recent mock exercise, all results were uploaded to the portal within two hours, demonstrating improved efficiency.
In conclusion, Nkem encouraged all political parties with candidates participating in the upcoming governorship polls to maintain records of the results from all polling units. This, she explained, would enable them to monitor the collation process and ensure transparency throughout the electoral process.
With INEC’s proactive measures and commitment to addressing past challenges, Nigerians can look forward to a more efficient and transparent electoral experience in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo states on November 11th.