Nigeria election agency not ready to further extend deadline for voter ID collection
Authorities have dismissed any calls for a further extension of the current 29 January deadline for registered Nigerians to collect their biometric voter IDs (PVCs) ahead of the country’s general elections next month.
Recently, an initial deadline of 22 January was pushed ahead by seven days (to 29 January) after civil society groups and some politicians urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – the election organizing body – to do so.
Now, INEC’s Commissioner for Kwara State Attahiru Madami is quoted by the Voice of Nigeria (VON) as saying that no further extension of the deadline is envisaged as the agency needs adequate time to deal with other exigencies in the electoral process.
“INEC is not going to extend the collection of PVCs because we’re going to be involved in other critical areas of the election, where we need to print out the number of voters in each polling units,” said Madami as quoted by VON.
“We need to give this to the political parties before the election so that we will get the statistics of everyone that has registered at each polling unit, and then they’ll strategize on how to campaign before the election on the 25th of February,” he added.
The assertion by the Kwara State INEC Commissioner comes as a civil society group Yiaga Africa is pressing for another deadline extension, as reports Vanguard.
Speaking about the Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) which INEC is employing for the polls, the electoral official said the system has proven to be largely reliable as seen when it was tested for Governorship elections in the States of Anambra and Ekiti and Osun.
That notwithstanding, Madami said they have been instructed by INEC hierarchy to further test the reliability of the biometric devices in some local government areas of their respective states by way of a mock accreditation exercise to make sure everything is set for the election.
“We have tested out BVAS in Anambra election: the BVAS was 92 percent. In Ekiti state election, the BVAS was 96 percent. In Osun state election, it was scored 98 percent. But you know we’re dealing with electronics; we don’t want to take chances,” said Madami. He said the 2023 election will be Nigeria’s most successful ever because of the reduction in voter fraud due to the biometric system.