Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am highly delighted to welcome you all to the Training of Trainers (ToT) Programme for Political Party Agents towards the effective participation of Political Parties and their appointed Agents at the forthcoming February 25th 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections and the March 11th 2023 Governorship and State Houses of Assembly Elections.
Indeed, the 2023 General Election is unique as it will involve the highest number of voters so far recorded in the history of voter registration in the country. Approximately 93,469,008 voters are expected to participate in the forthcoming elections. The number is large and election personnel including Political Party Polling Agents must be knowledgeable of their roles and what is expected of them.
You may recall that the Electoral Institute (TEI), on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022 organized a Training for Political Party Executives on “The Electoral Act 2022: Imperatives for Political Parties and the 2023 General Election”. This training delivered by Prof Yemi Akinseye-George, SAN, FCI Arb., renowned Legal Practitioner and former Professor of Law, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, exposed the implications of various sections of the new Act to political Party Executives.
I once again, welcome the participants to this workshop who are the National Organising Secretary, National Publicity Secretary, Women Leader and Youth Leader of each party (or their representatives). You are expected to cascade this training to all other Party Agents at different levels before the commencement of the 2023 General Election scheduled to commence on Saturday, 25th February, 2023.
New innovations in the voting system that Polling Agents need to be aware of include the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) which was introduced into our electoral process during the conduct of some elections in 2021. The BVAS adds facial technology to the existing fingerprint authentication this will ensure that all voters are authenticated by either of the technologies; With bi-modal authentication, no person can come to vote more than once, as the face or the fingerprints of the person would have been captured during accreditation. This further ensures a one-person-one-vote system. It is necessary to emphasize that warehoused PVCs can no longer be used during elections as every voter must be authenticated with the BVAS. The enactment of the 2022 Electoral Act has also helped the voter accreditation process, as the Law now recognizes technology (see Section 47 (2) of the Act), and there are clear punitive measures for the non-usage of accreditation devices on election day. Also, the total number of accreditations for an election will be sourced from the total number accredited using the Commission’s accreditation device – BVAS. The BVAS is, therefore, the only means for accreditation of voters on Election Day.
In addition, to improve the openness and credibility of elections, INEC decided to make available electronic copies of the PU Result Sheet (EC8A) for the General Public to view; this brought about the INEC Results Viewing (IReV) Portal. This implies that the EC8A form filled and signed by each Presiding Officer (PO) is scanned or photographed and uploaded to a Public Domain which can be viewed by the General Public. This system ensures that the EC8A filled at the PU is the same as that brought to the Collation centre, as the RA Collation Officer checks the uploaded EC8A before collating the result.
At this juncture, I most sincerely wish to appreciate the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and the entire members of the Commission for approving this Training. I also want to thank the Chair, Board of Electoral Institute (BEI) Prof. Abdullahi Abdu Zuru and other Board members for providing leadership and direction to the Institute.
I wish to thank the Director, training and her team for putting up this program, Directors of collaborating Departments, IFES for their support and cooperation and the entire participants for attending this workshop.
Once more, I welcome you all and wish you a worthwhile and fruitful interaction.