The z-pad, a new innovation presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to serve as a secondary means of achieving full biometric accreditation of voters, using facial image, will no longer be used for the Saturday Edo State governorship election.
The Commission disclosed that the piece of technology, which was deployed in the Nasarawa State bye-election to test-run its functionality, had both hardware and software issues.
INEC National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, while announcing the decision to drop the z-pad, noted that, “the atmosphere in Edo State ahead of the election this weekend is already charged”, adding that, “we cannot afford to complicate it further by introducing a new technology we are not yet fully satisfied with.
In his address at the Edo Governorship Election Stakeholders’ meeting in Benin, the Edo State capital, Yakubu, stated that, “perhaps the most critical of the recent innovations introduced by the Commission is the use of a tablet now popularly called the z-pad. It is a new innovation introduced to serve as a secondary means of achieving full biometric accreditation using facial image of the voter in support of the fingerprint authentication by the Smart Card Reader.
“Secondly, the camera on the tablet will be used to take a picture of the polling unit result (EC8A) and to upload same on a dedicated portal (INEC RESULT VIEWING – IReV). This will enable all those interested in viewing the results to do so in real time. The Commission deployed the z-pad in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election in Nasarawa State on 8th August 2020. It was a test-run intended to assess the functionality of the technology before its deployment in major elections. While the capture and upload of polling unit level result went on smoothly, the facial authentication did not.
“Without going into the technical details, let me say that the Commission encountered hardware and software issues which needed to be fixed”.
He explained further that, “our ICT Department worked on the new device and made a presentation to the Commission which decided that the system needs to be robust enough before it can be deployed in a major election.
“Unlike the 44 polling units of the Nasarawa Central State Constituency, the Edo Governorship election involves 2,627 polling units. The Commission decided that since this technology is work in progress, we should carry out a further test-run in some of the smaller constituencies during the bye-elections scheduled for 31st October 2020 and thereafter engage with stakeholders before it can be deployed in major elections”.
However, the uploading of polling unit level results in the election on Saturday will proceed as planned, INEC stated.