Following the assessment of the outcome of last Saturday’s field test of card reader, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday disclosed that it scored 100% in the verification of the authenticity of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) presented by voters at polling units.
The commission said that while there were some issues with the biometric authentication of some persons who presented their PVCs at the polling units as the legitimate holders of the cards, 59% of voters who turned out for the demonstration had their fingerprints successfully authenticated.
INEC, however, said an agreement was initially reached with the registered political parties, as contained in the approved guidelines for the conduct of the 2015 elections, that where biometric authentication of a legitimate holder of a genuine PVC becomes challenging, there could be physical authentication of the person and completion of an Incident Form, to allow the person to vote.
A statement signed by the chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Kayode Idowu, yesterday, said INEC took a critical view of the high rate of failure of the card readers to authenticate voters’ fingerprints in some areas, particularly in Ebonyi State, and has decided to thoroughly investigate the cause as well as repeat the public demonstration in that state on March 14, 2015.
The statement added that the commission had met on Monday, March 9, 2015, to consider field reports from the public demonstration of Smart Card Readers (SCRs) conducted in 12 states on Saturday, March 7, 2015.
This comes ahead of a meeting between the INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega and resident electoral commissioners in Abuja today to review the outcome of the mock exercise and other preparations for the elections.
The states where the field tests were conducted are Rivers and Delta (South-South), Kano and Kebbi (North West), Anambra and Ebonyi (South East), Ekiti and Lagos (South West), Bauchi and Taraba (North East) as well as Niger and Nasarawa (North Central).
According to the statement “the Commission observed that its decision to deploy SCRs for the 2015 general elections have four main objectives, namely:
“To verify Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) presented by voters at polling units and ensure that they are genuine, INEC-issued (not cloned) cards. From the reports on Saturday’s exercise, this objective was achieved 100 per cent.
”To biometrically authenticate the person who presents a PVC at the polling unit and ensure that he/she is the legitimate holder of the card. In this regard, there were a few issues in some states during the public demonstration. Overall, 59% of voters who turned out for the demonstration had their fingerprints successfully authenticated. But the Commission, in agreement with registered political parties, had provided in the approved Guidelines for the conduct of the 2015 elections that where biometric authentication of a legitimate holder of a genuine PVC becomes challenging, there could be physical authentication of the person and completion of an Incident Form, to allow the person to vote.
“The SCRs provide disaggregated data of accredited voters in male/female and elderly/youth categories – a disaggregation that is vital for research and planning purposes, but which INEC until now had been unable to achieve. The demonstration on Saturday fully served this objective.
“The SCR sends the data of all accredited voters to INEC’s central server, equipping the Commission to be able to audit figures subsequently filed by polling officials at the PU and, thereby, be able to determine if fraudulent alterations were made. The public demonstration also succeeded wholly in this regard.
“The Commission nevertheless took a serious view of the high rate of the SCRs’ failure to authenticate voters’ fingerprints in some areas, particularly in Ebonyi State, and has decided to thoroughly investigate the cause; as well as repeat the public demonstration in that state.
“This demonstration will be conducted in the particular Registration Area involved in the last exercise, namely Izzi Unuhu (Abakaliki Local Government Area); as well as in Ibii/Oziza Registration Area (Afikpo North LGA). The repeat demonstration will be on Saturday, March 14th 2015.
“INEC is satisfied that the use of SCRs in the 2015 general elections will add tremendous transparency and credibility to the accreditation process on Election Day.
“The Commission hereby reassures the public that it will do everything necessary to ensure that the processes of the elections are seamless, free, fair, credible and peaceful.”