INEC to conduct mock accreditation of voters in preparations for 2023 poll

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By Joy Odor

The lndependent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has affirmed the conduct of a mock accreditation of voters across the country as a field test exercise in readiness for 2023 all inclusive general elections and to put finishing touches to its preparations.

The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu gave the affirmation in his speech during the opening of Commission’s meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, ( FCT) Abuja on Friday.

According to him, the mock accreditation will hold on Saturday 4th February 2023 in 436 polling units nationwide.

Prof. Yakubu added that twelve polling units have been designated in each State of the Federation and four in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the equality of the country’s 109 Senatorial Districts for the exercise.

He said a comprehensive list of the polling units, including their names and PU Code numbers, as well as their distribution by State, Senatorial District, Local Government and Registration Area (Ward) will be uploaded to the Commission’s website shortly.

The INEC Chairman explained that at the end of the exercise, the 436 BVAS machines involved will be reconfigured before they are deployed for the General Election.

The INEC Chairman appealed to registered voters in the affected polling units to appear on the scheduled date with their PVCs for the mock exercise.

He informed that doing so would help to reassure the public of the robustness of the system and to strengthen the processes ahead of the General Election.

“As you are aware, we have exactly four weeks to the opening of polls on Saturday 25th February 2023 for the Presidential and National Assembly elections to be followed two weeks later by the Governorship and State Assembly elections on Saturday 11th March 2023.

“I am glad to report that movement of materials for the election to various locations nationwide is being concluded. Training of officials will commence shortly. Ongoing consultations with stakeholders will be intensified.

“Airlifting and delivery of sensitive materials to States of the Federation has gone far. Accreditation of national and international observers and the media is being finalized.

“Critical service providers in the area of transportation have reassured us of their commitment to efficient logistics for the movement of materials and personnel to various locations while the security agencies have reaffirmed their readiness for the election.

“However, the Commission is aware that there are a few issues to be addressed. One of them is the ongoing collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).

“The Commission is encouraged by the determination of registered voters nationwide to collect their PVCs and the actual level of collection so far.

“For instance, in Lagos State, which has the highest number of registered voters in the country, the Commission delivered 940,200 PVCs from the recent voter registration exercise (June 2021 to July 2022) for both new registrants and requests for transfer and replacement of cards.

“As of yesterday Thursday 26th January 2023, 839,720 PVCs have been collected representing 89.3% of the total figure.

“This meeting with RECs will consider reports from other States of the Federation and the Commission will not hesitate to consider additional measures to ensure that all citizens have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the General Election.

“As you are already aware, the Commission has taken delivery of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines for the election. We have also dutifully tested each machine in our offices nationwide to ensure its functionality” he said.

Prof Yakubu assured Nigerians that the Commission would always be responsive to the needs of the electorate.

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