Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu has formally reacted to the claim by the Resident Electoral Commissioner Bayelsa State, Mr. Obo Effanga, that results of the off-season Bayelsa state governorship elections would be collated manually.
Effanga was reported to have stated that the Independent National Electoral Commission plans to transmit the results of the governorship polls manually, during a meeting with religious leaders and faith-based organisations in Yenagoa.
But addressing journalists at the weekend in Lokoja, Kogi state capital, while inspecting designated centers for mock accreditation of voters using Bimodal Voters Accreditation System ( BVAS) and the INEC Voters Viewing Portal (IReV) ahead of the November 11 governorship elections, expected to hold in Kogi, simultaneously in Bayelsa and Imo states, Professor Yakubu urged prospective voters for the off-season elections in the three states to disregard the position on manual collation of results attributed to the Bayelsa REC.
He said: “The method is as provided by law, electronic accreditation, electronic upload of results on the IREV portal and that is why we are doing this mock. So, please disregard whatever was reported about what the REC was said to have said in Bayelsa. That’s going to be the procedure and it’s for that reason that I will advise you also for those who are registered on the IREV portal, that in the next two hours or so, they should go to the IREV portal you will see the result of the mock from all the three states, we are uploading, as we have done in previous elections.”
BVAS is a technological device used to identify and accredit voters’ fingerprints and facial recognition before voting. The device is also used for capturing images of the polling unit result sheet (Form EC8A) and uploading the image of the result sheet online. IReV on the other hand is an online portal where polling unit level results are uploaded directly from the polling unit, transmitted, and published for the public. At the front end of the online portal, members of the public can create personal accounts with which they can gain access to all uploaded results stored as PDF files.
Appraising the conduct of the Saturday mock accreditation across the three states, Professor Yakubu said reports available to him were heartwarming.
“As we are coming, I have received pictures from Bayelsa, and the turnout for the mock accreditation in Bayelsa is impressive. In fact, in Yenagoa, there is even a queue of voters waiting to be accredited. And we believe it is the same story that we’ll be hearing very soon from Imo.”
Speaking specifically on the challenges envisaged in Lokoja, the INEC Chairman who addressed reporters at Ganaja Village, Unit 009, Lokoja, described the polling unit with 13,000 registered voters as the largest polling unit and most densely populated in Nigeria . He however identified flooding as a major encumbrance.
He said: “One of the challenges of this location is flooding. It is not only by the River Niger, it is actually by confluence, where River Niger and Benue meet and on our way you saw evidence of flooding. And that’s why we took you to Gadumu where if there is flooding before the election, we’ll pull the adhoc staff out of there and move them on Saturday to this polling unit.
“But our preference will be to use this place as a super-rack where we will camp the ad hoc staff overnight, so that they will do the setting up on Friday and at first light on Saturday, INEC officials and materials will be waiting for voters rather than the other way around. So this is one of the largest polling units in the country and that’s where we are here.”