From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Edo office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the Bimodel Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) deployed for the mock accreditation exercise was functioning perfectly well in the state.
The Edo Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Obo Effanga, made this known while monitoring the exercise in designated polling units in the state.
Effanga said the exercise was for INEC to test the BVAS ahead of deployment for the actual elections.
“We have been using BVAS in the last two years in other states.
“The mock accreditation is to let people know how it works and to be sure that the BVAS is working and for people to see how it works.
“In Edo, we have not used BVAS before and this is an opportunity for people to see how it actually works and we hope that it will boost confidence in the system.
“This is the third polling unit we are visiting and the mock accreditation is going on smoothly.
“It is also an opportunity for people to identify their new polling units so that when they come on election day, they know where to go.
“Because in the last three months, we have been migrating people from one polling unit to another.
“Some polling units are so large while others are very few. So what we have done is to move people from large polling units to those that have few registered voters so that there would be an even spread of voters on election day and the election would be completed on time.
“The good thing is that we migrated people to new polling units within the same ward,” Effanga said.
Speaking on the low turnout of voters for the mock accreditation exercise, Effanga said” it is not compulsory that everybody must come out to do this
” But the few that will come wẹ use them to test that the system is working well
“I cannot say I am satisfied for now, because it started at 8:30 and it will continue until 2:30 pm.
“It is only at 2.30 pm when we would have stopped the exercise that we can give the total number of people that turned up for the exercise.
“The most important thing is that the BVAS is working well, it accredited each person within a few minutes in all the polling units we have visited,” added.
According to the REC, it is a good exercise and it is happening across the country. It is happening in six local government areas and in 12 polling units in the state.
Speaking on the exercise, the PDP chairman Ward 7, Hon Otoide Meg who was on the ground for the exercise regretted the low turnout of prospecting voters and the confusion among voters over the migration of voters from their previous units to new units by INEC.
According to Otoide, “The idea of being in one unit and migrating to other units by INEC is causing a lot of confusion right now.
” I just discovered that I have been moved from unit 13 to unit 49. If I have not come here today, i wouldn’t have known my new unit.
” Many women came here today and they were surprised that they were moved to other units.
“So, it is really causing a lot of confusion among voters,”Otoide said.
She said when she asked the INEC Resident commissioner, Obo Effanga about the situation, he said there is nothing the commission can do about it now.
She added that her worries now are how they can create awareness among the voters and know how to fix them in their various new units. “If I were aware before now, I would have gone straight to my new unit, Otoide said.
Some of the voters who spoke on the condition of anonymity expressed their displeasure about the exercise, adding that it simply shows that INEC was not prepared for the coming election.
According to them, “INEC should tell Nigerians if they are actually ready for this coming general elections.
“There was no awareness from the commission on today’s exercise.
“Secondly, when we came here, we discovered that many voters were moved from their former units to other units.
” This action will certainly cause confusion on that election day. If a solution is not found to this issue, there will be voters apathy on that day of the election and so many eligible voters would have been disenfranchised.”