The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is committed to conduct credible area councils election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by Feb. 12, 2022, with appropriate technology deployment and its innovative tools.

The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, stated this while speaking at the ongoing INEC FCT Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC) Amber Zone Implementer’s workshop, on Monday in Abuja.

Oyekanmi said that the technology deployment and its innovative tools would be on election monitoring and support systems.

He said that the EMSC and the commission’s newly-introduced Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) remain critical factors in ensuring success in upcoming election in the six area councils of the FCT.

He said that while the BVAS was introduced to improve on the credibility of elections in the country, EMSC helps the commission to identify and mitigate potential risk in the conduct of an election in the country.

He listed the commission’s election monitoring components to include Election Management System (EMS), Electoral Risk Management (ERM) and Election Operations Support Centre (EOSC).

“EMSC has become a vital tool in the monitoring, implementation and management of Nigeria’s electoral plans and activities.

“The EMSC makes available to the commission the necessary information in making real-time interventions to avert or mitigate potential risks or threats to an election,” Oyekanmi said.

In his presentation, titled “communication strategy”, Oyekanmi said communication was critical to the operations of the EMSC, hence the need for an appropriate strategy that strings together the personnel involved in the operational structure of the EMSC.

”The EMSC Communication Strategy aims at enhancing effective dissemination of information in a timely manner.”

He also re-emphasised INEC’s commitment to addressing some of the glitches noticed with BIVAS during the Anambra governorship election before the FCT poll.

The Project Coordinator, European Centre for Election Support (ECES), Mr Hamza Fassi-Fihr, in his remarks, described the workshop as an important step towards the conduct of transparent and credible area council election in the nation’s capital city.

Fassi-Fihr said that the FCT election was critical, as the first election to follow the Anambra Governorship election where the BVAS was deployed on an extensive scale, after the Isoko by-election, in Delta State.

“We know that the system worked overall well despite the glitches and technical issues it has suffered, be it related to the software or to the handling of the device by the ad hoc staff or the voters.

“In this context, therefore, the FCT Area Council election will be an important step forward for the Commission as it will have the opportunity to prove on the functionality of the BVAS, enhancing its acceptability among the stakeholders and at a very strategic moment which will be one year before general election,” Fassi-Fihr said.

The project coordinator said it was the expectation of the centre that the conduct of the FCT Area council election would set the standard for future elections, especially election monitoring.

“Monitoring the level of readiness of the Commission across the various electoral operations and the pace of implementation through the EMSC is important to the successful conduct of the election.

“The EMSC helps the commission have a real time view on the electoral process and continually adjust to evolving context on the ground.

“This workshop is therefore of utmost importance as it will allow sharing the information on what has been done so far, where you stand and what needs to be done.

“I am sure that the EMSC tool will once again play its role as it did in the 2019 General Election, and other off cycle governorship elections,” Fassi-Fihr.

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