From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that the Commission will present Certificate of Return to the Anambra State Governor-Elect, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, in Awka on Friday.
INEC, equally admitted that the Anambra guber poll was conducted under the most challenging circumstances, stressing that despite the shortcomings of the technology deployed, it was better than the best manual process.
In a statement issued by National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, after its meeting in Abuja, the Commission maintained that only the votes cast by citizens at polling units will determine the outcome of elections.
“INEC met today Thursday and conducted an initial review of the Anambra governorship election. The Commission is awaiting the reports of all officials deployed for the election for an indepth review of the processes.
“However, after the supplementary election in Ihiala Local Government Area and before the process was concluded, the Commission commenced a preliminary review of the functionality of systems, particularly the newly introduced Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
“The system performed two functions on election day. First is the accreditation of voters using both the fingerprint and facial authentication. Secondly, it snaps the polling unit level result sheets and uploads them in real-time to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal. This aspect of the BVAS functionality performed optimally such that by the early hours of Sunday morning, results from 4,987 (88.5 per cent) out of 5,634 polling units had been upoladed for public view.
“While still in the field, our ICT team responded to the identified glitches in the accreditation of voters and corrected them. Consequently, in the Ihiala supplementary election, there were no reported incidents of BVAS malfunction. We will carry out an in-depth examination of the system, review reports from accredited observers and the media and respond to all identified challenges ahead of the next major Area Council election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), holding on February 12, 2021.
“We shall again test run the system in the bye-election (s) that may arise before then. The Commission remains convinced that despite some glitches experienced in Anambra State governorship election, the deployment of technology in elections is better than the best manual process,” INEC noted the statement.
While revealing the presentation of certicates of return, the Commission wrote: “Following the conclusion of the election and as provided for in Section 75 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), certificates of return will be presented to the Governor-elect and Deputy Governor-elect Friday November 12, 2021 at our State office in Awka.”
It also admitted challenges conducting the election and commended the contributions of several stakeholders.
“The 2021 Anambra State governorship election was conducted under the most challenging circumstances. Never before did the Commission have to grapple with numerous issues ahead of an off-season governorship election, including attacks on our facilities, withdrawals of critical service providers such as the ad hoc staff and transporters on the eve of the election and the general tension pervading the atmosphere.. Happily, the election passed off peacefully.
“The Commission expresses its gratitude to the security agencies, election duty officials, political parties and candidates, the National Peace Committee under the leadership of our former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, religious and community leaders, socio-cultural associations, civil society organisations and the media for the enormous sacrifice and support in ensuring that the election was conducted and peacefully concluded.
“We look forward to the support of all Nigerians in the forthcoming elections. We will continue to work hard to protect the sanctity of the ballot and to conduct free, fair and credible elections anywhere in Nigeria.
“We remain resolute that only the votes cast by citizens at polling units will determine the outcome of elections,” the statement read.