By Jethro Ibileke
Ahead of the 18 June governorship election in Ekiti State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has registered 988,923 eligible voters to participate in the election.
Of the figure, a total of 720,724 people have collected their permanent voters cards, as of 18 May, 2022.
Head of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, disclosed this in the citizen-led group’s pre election report.
According to the report, “findings indicate ongoing preparatory activities by INEC and compliance with the Election schedule of activities. For instance, the official publication of voters register in all 16 LGAs from 19 May 2022, while the final candidate list was published in the capital and 2 other LGAs.
“The final list of registered voters as released by INEC to Political Parties in Ekiti on May 18, 2022, 988,923 registered voters are eligible to participate in the election of these 720,724 have collected their permanent voters cards as of May 18, 2022.
“A further breakdown of registered voters by demography revealed that 502,906 (51%) are female and 486,017 (49%) are male. The Youths (18-34) constitutes 38.56% of the total voters.”
Meanwhile, Yiaga Africa has said that the June 18 governorship election in Ekiti State, will provide the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), an opportunity to assess the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), for the conduct of elections.
The Ekiti governorship election will be the second governorship election where the BVAS will be deployed for the accreditation of voters, having been deployed in the November 2021 Anambra governorship election.
It was also used in the Isoko-South I State Constituency bye-election in Delta State in September 2021, the February 2022 FCT Area Council Election, in the March 2022 bye-elections in Ondo, Cross Rivers, Jos and Imo States.
The citizen-led group in its pre-election report, added that the Ekiti election will test INEC’s capacity to resolve all challenges observed with the BVAS deployment in Anambra and FCT.
The report, however, noted that while the BVAS achieved reasonable success in the bye-elections, their deployment in statewide elections like the Anambra governorship election and the FCT area council election was marred with widespread reports of the BVAS not functioning adequately and experiencing other challenges which led to the extension of voting time on election day.
“The Ekiti election presents another opportunity for the assessment of the functionality of the BVAS and the capacity of INEC to resolve all challenges observed with the BVAS deployment in Anambra and FCT.
“This is particularly important because the new Electoral Act in section 47(2)(3), makes it mandatory for the deployment of the technological device for accreditation of voters with a requirement to suspend the election in a polling unit where the device fails to accredit voters and to continue the process within 24 hours if the results from the polling unit will substantially affect the final result of the election.
“The BVAS now plays a central role in safeguarding elections and in guaranteeing that technical glitches do not disenfranchise every eligible voter who turns out to vote.
“Accordingly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is responsible for ensuring that the BVAS functions optimally in the Ekiti state election.
“This will need INEC’s commitment to ensuring the mock voter accreditation exercise to test the effectiveness of the BVAS is conducted ahead of the Ekiti election as stated during the quarterly stakeholders meeting held on May 11, 2022,” the statement said.
It added that beyond the deployment of BVAS, the Ekiti election will also serve as a test to assess INECs capacity to manage the perennial logistical challenges observed in previous elections and its ability to inspire confidence in the process.