Admin l Wednesday, March 8, 2023
ABUJA, Nigeria – The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has received the nod to go ahead and reconfigure the Bimordal Voters Accreditation System(BVAS) machines ahead of the March 11, 2023 governorship and state houses of assembly election.
The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja gave INEC, the nod to reconfigure the BVAS.
In a unanimous decision, the three-member panel held that stopping INEC from reconfiguring the BVAS amount to tying the hands of the umpire in the quest to conduct the election slated for Saturday.
The panel equally dismissed the concern raised by Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi against INEC’s move to reconfigure all the BVAS.
The panel noted that granting the prayers of Obi and his party, would amount to “tying the hands of the respondent, INEC.”
The I Justice Joseph Ikyegh-led panel averred that INEC had in an affidavit it filed before the court, assured that the accreditation data contained in the BVAS could not be tampered with or lost, as they would be stored and easily retrieved from its accredited back-end server and that neither Obi nor LP controverted the depositions in INEC’s affidavit, stressing that since such averments were not challenged, it amounted to admission by the applicants.
The panel also ordered INEC to allow the applicants to inspect and carry out digital forensic examination of all the electoral materials used in the conduct of the elections, as well as to avail them the Certified True Copy, CTC, of result of the physical inspection of the BVAS.
While opposing LP’s application, INEC told the court that there were a total of 176,000 BVAS that were deployed to polling units during the presidential election.
“Each polling unit has its own particular BVAS machine which we need to configure for the forthcoming elections. It will be very difficult for us, within the period, to reconfigure the 176, 000 BVAS.
“We have already stated in our affidavit that no information in the BVAS will be lost as we will transfer all the data in the BVAS to our back-end server. We need the BVAS configured. So, granting this application will be a cog in the process and may delay the conduct of the elections,” INEC’s lead lawyer, Tanimu Inuwa (SAN), pleaded.