By Peter Uwumarogie, Gombe.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says with the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS), the issue of identity theft and other election frauds would be adequately tackled during the 2023 general elections.
Alhaji Umar Ibrahim, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Gombe State, gave the assurance in Gombe on Wednesday at a stakeholders’ meeting on the preparations toward the general elections.
Ibrahim said that the credibility of the 2023 general elections remained a top priority for the commission, hence the introduction of improved technology in recent elections to enhance the electoral processes.
According to him, with BVAS, only voters will determine who wins elections in the country.
“I assure the good people of Gombe State that the days of identity theft during elections are over, and only voters can determine the winner of elections in this country.
“There is no doubt the deployment of technology has greatly improved the conduct of elections in this country over the years.
“During the 2023 general elections, the commission will be deploying the BVAS for accreditation of voters and transmission of results,” he said.
Ibrahim said that Gombe State had received the full complement of BVAS machines required for the conduct of the 2023 general elections in the state.
The REC assured the residents that the commission was ready to conduct credible elections in the state, adding that 10 out of the 14 outlined activities had been carried out.
Ibrahim appealed to all stakeholders to play their roles towards ensuring the smooth conduct of the 2023 elections.
“The conduct of credible elections is not the responsibility of INEC alone; free, fair, credible, peaceful, all-inclusive and accountable elections are a product of concerted efforts by all stakeholders.
“I urge you to join us in discouraging selling or buying of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and vote selling or buying in the strongest terms, as it stands against democratic norms and principles,” he said.
Speaking further on BVAS, Mr Bitson Simon, Head of Department, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Voter Registry, Gombe State INEC office, said the BVAS devices had been described as a “game changer” in recent elections.
Simon said that the devices were introduced by INEC as a solution to the inadequacies of the card readers, which were used in precious elections.
He said with BVAS, frauds being perpetuated on election days in previous elections would no longer be possible, adding that “election by proxy will not be possible with BVAS.”
According to him, BVAS will be used to accredit voters, transmit accredited data to INEC server and transmit election results into INEC review portal.
Simon said that the use of BVAS machines would improve the transparency of the 2023 elections.