Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC, has said that the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) technology used in the 2023 elections recorded a 98 per cent success rate.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, stated this on Tuesday while addressing the Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) of all the states of the federation at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
BVAS is the machine used to accredit voters using their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and fingerprints or face recognition technology.
Mr Yakubu, a professor, said the BVAS technology deployed for the elections showed a significant progress of 98 per cent success rate compared to the 29.2 per cent of the Smart Card Readers in the previous 2019 general elections.
“Our records show that the success rate for BVAS accreditation stands at 98% compared to the Smart Card Reader’s 29.2% during the 2019 General Election,” he said.
Mr Yakubu added that the commission is looking at all the evidence of infractions during the election, including prosecuting offenders.
The meeting with the RECs is the first of the activities to review the 2023 general elections held on 25 February and 18th March and supplementary elections in some constituencies on 15 April.
INEC said the review will focus on all aspects of the electoral activities before, during and after the elections.
At the end of the internal review and stakeholder engagement, the INEC boss said the commission would publish a comprehensive report.
He added that the commission had received reports from 54 accredited national and international observers.
“We will give equal prominence to all the reports and review them in a holistic manner to ensure that necessary lessons are learnt from their conclusions and recommendations. As a Commission, we hope to continue to count on the support of stakeholders to improve the electoral process in Nigeria,” he said.
2023 elections ‘most prepared’ –Yakubu
Despite logistical challenges experienced on Election Day, particularly the presidential elections, Mr Yakubu said the 2023 general election was one of the most meticulously prepared for recently.
He said preparations for the 2023 polls began immediately after the 2019 elections.
He said: “Learning from previous experiences, we started preparations immediately after the 2019 General Election, carefully ticking the necessary boxes over four years. The need to learn from both the positives and the shortcomings makes the stocktaking that we are embarking on today essential.”
Mr Yakubu listed the ‘positive stories’ from the election, including the stemming of security challenges that threatened to derail the elections.
According to him, the currency and fuel scarcity that characterised the days before the elections did not also affect the conduct of the elections as polls continued on the same day.
“Concerns that the perennial insecurity across the country will disrupt the polls fizzled out on Election Day as the elections were largely peaceful,” he said.“Despite currency and fuel challenges and widespread attacks on our personnel and facilities nationwide, the commission proceeded with the election as scheduled. The first set of elections, the Presidential and National Assembly, held as planned for the first time in the last four General Elections conducted in the country.”
‘Most diverse outcome’
Mr Yakubu said the overall outlook for the elections suggests that “it is a fair reflection of a complex multi-party democracy.”
He said the 2023 elections produced the most diverse outcomes ever recorded since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999.
“Today, five political parties produced state governors, seven parties won senatorial seats, eight are represented in the House of Representatives, and nine in State Houses of Assembly,” he said. “The 10th National Assembly is certainly the most diverse in party representation since 1999.”
Mr Yakubu, however, acknowledged some challenges recorded during the elections, stating that the commission is determined to address them as it prepares for the future elections.