Anambra election wasn’t an easy exercise for INEC — Mahmood

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By Joel Oladele, Abuja

The Chairman Independent Electoral commission INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu has said the just  concluded governorship election in Anambra State was a tough experience for the Commission.

Speaking in Lagos  during a one-day stakeholders meeting with online publishers on Wednesday,  with the theme,  “Strengthening INEC/Media Partnership for the Consolidated of Free, Fair, Credible and Inclusive Elections.”

The Chairman said the build up to the election and the day of the exercise  gave the commission a tough time.

According to him, “As you are all aware, the Anambra Governorship election was held on 6th November 2021 under difficult circumstances.”

“The deployment of the BVAS in the Anambra Governorship election was the second pilot test. It was intended to achieve two objectives. First is voter accreditation to replace the Smart Card Reader.

“Second is the uploading of polling unit result on the IReV portal to replace the z-pad. The BVAS performed optimally in uploading results on the IReV but there were the usual challenges associated with the pilot of a new technology in a major election.

“From our assessment so far, much of the glitches encountered on Election day in Anambra State had little to do with the machines but more with the operators of the system.”

Mahmood  also said, some critical service providers such as vehicle owners also withdrew which   affected  the  plans for rapid response by  technicians.

“Given the credible conclusion of the election, it has strengthened our belief that even the minimal introduction of technology in voter accreditation is better than the best manual process.”

Mahmood thanked all voters in Anambra State for their patience and faith in the new technology.

Speaking further, the Chairman said the responsibilities of holding elections in Nigeria is very difficult.

He said, “The responsibility for conducting elections in Nigeria is more than conducting elections in the whole of the West African sub-region.”

Highlighting the responsibilities on the commission, Mahmood noted that  there is nothing like election season in Nigeria again adding that the notion that once a general election is over, INEC goes on holiday is wrong.

He stressed that between 2019 General election and now, INEC has conducted 36 other elections.

“In addition, elections are held all-year round between one General Election and another with no respite. There is no election season any longer in Nigeria. The Commission has to think literally on its feet as it reflects, strategises, and innovates and pilots the new innovations.

“For instance, since the 2019 General Election, the Commission has conducted 36 elections made up of 5 Governorship constituencies (Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Kogi and Ondo), 6 Senatorial Districts, 7 Federal Constituencies (House of Representatives seats) and 18 State Assembly constituencies.

“Yet, there are more elections to be conducted in the next 8 months. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council elections made up of 68 constituencies (6 Council Chairmen and 62 Councillors) is scheduled to hold on 12th February 2022, followed by the Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections holding on 18th June 2022 and 16th July 2022 respectively,” he said.

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