Nigeria: Election Officials Carry Out Mock Tests Ahead Of Polls
Election officials in Nigeria on Saturday staged mock biometric accreditation for voters ahead of this month's presidential and parliamentary elections. The country goes to the polls on 25 February to elect a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari. State governors and lawmakers will be elected two weeks later.
To ensure fairness and transparency of the electoral process, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) introduced a voter accreditation system at 2015 and 2019 polls. After a number of technical problems INEC decide to test the system out in Lagos.
Olusegun Agbaje is a Lagos State Electoral Commissioner. "This is just to test that the BVAS is working," he says. "We are able to know that and that the job of BVAS is just to accredit people either facially or through their thumb printing, if you cannot do the thumb print, well then we bring out the facial to enable us to know that you are the original owner of that card you are bringing and that card also was issued by INEC.
President Buhuari will step down after two terms; the maximum permitted under the constitution. Officials are keen for the election to run smoothly. Salami Najeem is a civil servant. "When I heard people ringing the bell that each and every individual, the eligible voters, that they should come out and do the mock accreditation," he says.
"You know I had to go and pick my card and when, I came out I did not spend a single minute before I was accredited and that is a very good score mark on the part of INEC." Some voters were excited about the exercise and had their biometrics taken by INEC officials to help improve preparations for the general elections.
Former Lagos governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, ex-vice president Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party and ex-governor of southeastern Anambra state Peter Obi of Labour Party are the frontrunners.