The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), on Thursday, announced that it had deployed 2,822 the Biometric Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Feb. 12 council elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 1,373,492 registered voters are expected to participate in the elections for Chairmen and Councillors, in 2,229 polling units .
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, chairman, INEC, at the distribution of sensitive materials to the area councils, said that 12,000 ad hoc staff had also been deployed for the elections.
Yakubu said that the sensitive materials were collected from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and brought to INEC FCT office, for distribution to the area councils.
“The materials were received from CBN and are being taken to the area councils starting with the farthest, Abaji, kwali to Gwagwalada area councils.
“There are six area councils Abaji, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje, Kwali and Abuja Municipal Area Council(AMAC)’’, he said.
Yakubu explained to foreign observers that although the election was a local government one and not so big, but the area councils were large areas that could amount to a country.
“One area council alone like AMAC is almost the size of Guinea-Bissau in Africa, so we still had to do some serious work.
‘`However, we have taken adequate care and decongested some polling units for the elections and we hope that the political parties have mobilised, so that there would be high voter turnout.
“Our responsibility is voter education, while their responsibility is voter mobilisation,’’ he said.
INEC’s National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education (IVEC), Festus Okoye, said that the deployment of the sensitive materials was being observed by representatives of political parties, civil society groups and the media.
“This is because we want to be as transparent as possible and we also want to be as fast as possible so that the vehicles can leave.
“The security agents that would escort the vehicles are ready, political parties and CSOs are welcomed to escort the vehicles to their destinations.
“When they get there the materials would be offloaded and kept under heavy security pending when they are deployed to the Registration Area Centres (RACs).’’
Mr Abdulrazak Yusuf, Director in charge of Electoral Operations, said that the sensitive materials included result sheets and ballot papers, customised in different colours according to the area council.
Yusuf said that each ballot paper and result sheet differed from one area council to another council and had been colour coded, adding “so the one for Kwali differs from the one of Gwagwalada in colour and the other local governments.
“We also have replacement result sheets produced, based on percentage in case something happens we can easily have sheets to record our results.
“They are usually left with the resident commissioner supervising that local government in addition to the six supporting the REC, so that the form would be with him, but it will not be used.
“It can only be used when all parties have agreed that there is an issue with one result sheet that they will be counter signed and replaced .’’
Yusuf said that INEC had a checklist containing the names of all polling units and ballot papers with their serial numbers and the number of result sheets that would be used.
He added that each polling unit had its own customised and unique feature with its own delimitation.
“So, we cannot use a result sheet of 001 for 002 because it has been customised according to that Polling unit,’’ he said.
The FCT INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Yahaya Bello said that all was set for the conduct of the FCT area council elections, adding that the sensitive materials were brought so CSOs and political parties could verify.
He said that the RACs had been prepared, secured and ready for work and that the RACs would be opened on Feb.11, 2022, to accommodate all the ad hoc staff.
Bello said that the ad hoc staff had already been trained and were ready and waiting for the sensitive materials, such that all was now set to ensure that the election started early.
“All is set for the conduct of the election and I pray that by the grace of God , it will be very peaceful, very successful, very transparent, very credible and very inclusive and everybody will be able to vote for the candidate of his or her choice.’’
Bello said that all the BVAS devices had been well configured and the commission had also trained what it called “RAC Techs’’.
According to him, these are technicians who are going to take care of the machines in the event of any breakdown, explaining that transporters had also been engaged and there were motorcycles, tricycles and other vehicles, ready to deploy materials to centres.
Bello therefore advised FCT residents to come out and vote, adding that the BVAS were configured to upload the results at the Polling units so that everyone would be able to see the results of the wards.