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Deployment of ICT director not reason for BVAS technical hitch, INEC claims | The Guardian Nigeria News

The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) cannot be described as an invention of one staff member of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Rather, it is the Commission’s idea and invention, just as the now rested Smart Card Reader (SCR), a source in INEC has said.

While reacting to a recent media report, which alluded that the deployment of an INEC staff member, Chidi Nwafor, former ICT Director of INEC, was principally responsible for the inside technical hitches that led to the failure of BVAS in the February 25 poll, the INEC source stated that having decided to invent BVAS, the Commission gave the assignment to the most relevant department within the Commission, namely the ICT, to bring the idea into fruition.

The source explained: “The ICT Department is populated by a sizable number of brilliant engineers and IT experts, who worked very hard as a team for several months to successfully actualise the Commission’s dream. After completing the assignment of designing the BVAS, the ICT Department notified the Commission.

“Therefore, it is improper to insinuate that a former Director of ICT or any other staff, for that matter, single-handedly designed BVAS. If we were to praise anyone for the invention, it would be the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, because as the Commission’s Chairman, the buck stops on his table. And the Commission it was, that conceived the innovation in the first place.

“At the same time, to insinuate that the transfer of a former Director of ICT to another state as Administrative Secretary was both a demotion and the cause of the glitches experienced with the INEC Result Viewing Portal in the afternoon of February 25, 2023 during the Presidential election is nothing but an attempt to mislead the public.

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“First, the INEC Result Viewing portal (IReV) and BVAS are two separate entities, and they are independent of each other. The relationship between the two is that the BVAS is used to transmit the picture of Form EC8A, which is the Polling Unit (PU) Result Sheet in PDF format, as well as the Voter Accreditation Data to the IREV. Therefore, the glitches suffered by the IReV for some hours on February 25 could not have affected the functionality of the BVAS, which in any case, performed its duty excellently on election day.

“There’s also a provision for the BVAS to transmit the PU result in offline mode if there is no network at the polling unit at time of the activity.

“The truth is the glitches could still have occurred, even if the former ICT Director was still in charge. Recently, Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter had serious glitches that prevented many people, including me, from using those applications for many hours. But eventually, the respective companies surmounted the challenges. Now, would you say that the glitches occurred just because one engineer resigned from or was transferred within the company? Of course not.

“While the former ICT Director is indeed a respected, brilliant employee who played his role satisfactorily, there are equally other staff members within the Commission that can effectively play his former role. Again, contrary to the impression that the position of Administrative Secretary is a demotion, I would say that it is an elevation. The Administrative Secretary at our state office is the most senior staff there – second only to the Resident Electoral Commissioner. It’s like the role of a permanent secretary in a federal parastatal. When the REC is not around, the Administrative Secretary becomes an Acting REC. That’s how important the position is.”

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