Despite its readiness with logistics for the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is facing hurdles over the recruitment of 10,000 ad hoc workers for the poll.
There had been poor response by ad hoc workers who will conduct the poll because of the security situation, especially the activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the state.
It was revealed that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was taking precautionary measures to avoid exposing its members to killings by gunmen.
NYSC was weighing possible options last night, including how to provide tight security for corps members who will participate in the poll.
It was learnt that INEC has been holding a series of consultations with the police and other security agencies on how to protect polling units and voters across the state.
For transparency and a faster process, INEC has also concluded plans to use Bimodal Voter Accreditation Device (BVAD) for the election.
BVAD will combine two modes of voter verification: fingerprint and face biometrics for voter’s identity verification.
But recruitment of election officials appeared to be top on the agenda of the electoral commission.
According to records, INEC in May increased the polling units in Anambra State from 4,608 to 5,720 with about 10,000 ad hoc workers required for the governorship poll.
The online registration for the recruitment of ad hoc workers ended on October 3 with what a source called “poor response”.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said:
The security situation in Anambra State is hindering the engagement of ad hoc workers. We need about 10,000 of such workers but the number is yet to add up.
INEC is ready with all logistics and equipment for the poll except the full complement of ad hoc workers needed for the governorship election.
The commission is looking at how to overcome this problem. Once the security challenges or implications are addressed, INEC will be able to manage the situation within a short time.
Another source said the NYSC, which used to be the primary source of ad hoc workers, was weighing several options.
The source said:
When we had a session with NYSC, there was the initial assurance that there was enough number of corps members for the election.
The same NYSC is now weighing options on the participation of corps members, including precautionary measures to avoid exposing these youths to gunmen or IPOB’s militant wing called Eastern Security Network (ESN).
So, it is not a straightforward calculation from the NYSC. The main task at hand is how to get enough ad hoc workers.
It was gathered last night that INEC would use BVAD for the election.
According to a National Commissioner of INEC, the same BVAD was used for Isoko South 1 State Constituency by-election in Delta State, which was about 97 per cent efficient.
The commissioner, who spoke in confidence, said:
BVAD will make the accreditation process faster and easier. It is an upgrade of our technology to improve the electoral process.
We recorded about 97 per cent efficacy in the by-election in Delta State House of Assembly. For a sensitive poll like Anambra governorship, this new technology will be good. We want a transparent election beginning with the accreditation of voters.
Details on BVAD from INEC are as follows: It will “combine two modes of voter verification: fingerprint and face biometrics for voter’s identity verification.
BVAD system is a multifunctional integrated device that will serve different layers of purposes for different activities in the process of adding value to the elections in Nigeria.
The all-in-one technology will serve as the INEC’s Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) during the commission’s voter registration exercise. It will also serve as the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for voter accreditation on Election Day, replacing the Smart Card Readers.
Finally, it will serve as INEC’s Result Viewing Device (IReV Device) which will be used for uploading election results on Election Day.
Speaking recently on BVAD, INEC chairman Prof. Mamood Yakubu said:
We introduced the BVAS for efficient human recognition through a biometric verification mechanism using both fingerprint and facial recognition of voters. The result of the pilot in the 84 polling units was very encouraging indeed.
It took an average of just one minute for the device to correctly locate the voter in the system and another two minutes to authenticate a voter. In terms of the ruggedness of the device and its battery life, no single BVAS was replaced due to the discharge of the battery throughout the voting period.
Most importantly, the device guaranteed the credibility of voter accreditation by preventing the incidents of multiple voting or the use of stolen PVCs to vote. All voters were accredited electronically using the BVAS. The use of the incident form was eliminated. The Isoko South 1 State Constituency by-election was historic in this respect.