Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has explained why the electoral umpire would not electronically transmit raw election figures in the forthcoming polls.
The reason, according to the INEC boss, is to avoid the possibility of hacking into the system as raw figures are more vulnerable to hacks.
Professor Yakubu who made the explanation at a meeting with leaders of Foreign Election Observation Missions in Nigeria, said it was easy to hack raw figures than photocopied documents.
He said that Presiding Officers would use the Bimodal Voter Authentication System BVAS to photograph the result sheets of each polling unit and upload same on the INEC Result Viewing Portal IREV for members of the public to view.
The decision, he further explained, was part of INEC’s measures to ensure the outcome of the forthcoming polls was credible.
“The BVAS confirms that the cards issued by the Commission and presented by the voter is genuine and the voter is authenticated using the fingerprints and where it failed, the facials. Where both fail, the voter can’t vote. That is a matter of law.
“After the process is completed at the polling unit, the image of the polling unit result will be taken by the BVAS and uploaded unto what we call the INEC Result Viewing Portal where citizens can see polling unit level results as the processes are completed at the polling unit level.
“The difference between what Kenya did in 2015 and what we are doing is that we are not transmitting raw figures for collation. In fact, the law does not allow for electronic collation of results. So, we don’t transmit raw figures because raw figures transmitted online are more susceptible to hacking while images of a document are not susceptible to hacking.
“Like every new technology, initially, it will present its own challenges. In the last elections in Osun and Ekiti, the BVAS performed well.
“But, this is the first time that we are deploying the machine for national elections. We conducted a mock accreditation exercise and the exercise had some issues which we have addressed.
“So, we are confident that on Saturday, the machines will work and perform optimally.”
Professor Yakubu, again, reiterated the preparedness of INEC to conduct a credible and acceptable polls.