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Despite Glitches, YIAGA Africa Scores BVAS Over 80%

ABUJA – YIAGA Africa said the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) deployed in presidential and National Assembly polls in Nigeria on Saturday, February 25, 2023, functioned properly in 88 per cent of the polling units it monitored across the country.

Recall, there are 176,606 polling units nationwide.

Yiaga Africa’s Watching The Vote in its preliminary findings released in Abuja on Sunday, February 26, 2023, said it observed that BVAS was deployed for the accreditation of voters and matching of the results in the 99 per cent of the polling units its election observers monitored.

“In 88 per cent of polling units, the BVAS functioned properly. However, in nine per cent of polling units, the BVAS malfunctioned, and it was fixed and in two per cent of the polling units, it malfunctioned and was replaced,” YIAGA Africa’s Chair, Watching The Vote Working Group, Dr. Hussaini Abdu and Executive Director, Samson Itodo said in the report.

YIAGA Africa stated further that on adherence to election procedures and additional process findings, it observed that in 93 per cent of polling units, the details of registered voters were systematically checked against the register of voters.

It noted however, that in over nine per cent of polling units, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) polling officials were unprofessional and partisan, while they also observed that the secrecy of ballots were not upheld as voting cubicles were not provided.

While stating that there were also attempts to influence polling officials in some instances, the group said voting cubicles were not provided in five per cent of the polling units, while in 13 per cent of the polling units, the set up did not comply with the guidelines.

It said, “In five per cent of polling units, there were no voting cubicles. Similarly, 13 per cent of polling units were set up in way individuals could see how the voters marked their ballot papers.”

On voter intimidation, YIAGA Africa said its observers reported that it was only in five per cent of the polling units that voters faced intimidation, harassment or were assaulted, while situations that were identified as likely voter inducement were observed at seven per cent of the monitored polling units.

The group added that its observers took note of the presence of party agents across most of the polling units.

“During counting, All Progressives Congress (APC) party agents were sighted at 97 per cent of polling units; Labour Party (LP) polling agents were sighted at 67 per cent of polling units; New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) polling agents were sighted at 51 per cent of polling units, and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at 99 per cent of polling units,” YIAGA Africa stated.

On vote counting, they said they observed at 98 per cent of polling units that the polling officials obtained the number of accredited voters from the BVAS and recorded it on form EC.8A and also showed how every ballot paper was marked to the party agents.

As regards the transmission of results at the polling units’ level, YIAGA Africa Watching The Vote PVT said the Presiding Officer at 83 per cent of monitored polling units used the BVAS to scan/take a snapshot of the results sheet (Form EC 8A).

“In 69 per cent of polling units, the Presiding Officer attempted to transmit/send the polling unit result image to the INEC’s online database (IReV),” the group said.

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