Home Nigeria INEC: reset of BVAS a must for governorship poll

INEC: reset of BVAS a must for governorship poll

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Thenationonlineng.net

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said that the reset of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines must be done before Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections can hold across the federation.

The electoral agency explained that it required adequate time to reconfigure the BVAS machines before the polls.

According to INEC, the order granted to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi, to inspect the machines should be varied.

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) sitting in Abuja is expected to rule today at 2pm on the LP’s legal battle with the electoral umpire.

It will also rule on the motions by the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), for leave to inspect materials used by the commission the recent presidential election.

The tribunal, during yesterday’s proceedings, also fixed ruling for the same time on the motions by INEC, the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate.

Tinubu’s lawyer, Akintola Makinde, while moving the two motions ex-parte, said they were to seek the court’s permission to inspect materials used for the election and obtain copies and other materials to prepare his case.

Lawyer to the APC, Omosanya Popoola, moved the two ex-parte motions filed for the party and in which it seeks similar prayers as contained in Tinubu’s motions.

Earlier, lawyer to INEC, Tanimu Inuwa (SAN), while arguing his client’s motion on notice, prayed the court to grant the prayers sought.

Inuwa said it was necessary that the order granted Obi and Atiku to inspect the BVAS be varied.

He said the commission should be allowed to store the date currently being held in the BVAS on INEC’s back end server to enable it deploy the same machines for the governorship and House of Assembly elections slated for March 11.

Inuwa said time was of the essence because INEC required adequate time to reconfigure the BVAS machines before the proposed elections.

He said INEC was particularly concerned with Orders Four and Five, which relate to the digital and forensic analysis of the BVAS machines.

Lawyer to Obi and LP, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), objected to INEC application and urged the court to dismiss it.

Ikpeazu subsequently moved the motion he filed for his clients’ for the court’s permission to conduct physical inspection of the BVAS machines to enable them extract information embedded therein.

He added that his clients also wanted to obtain a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the report of the BVAS machines.

Ikpeazu said Obi and LP wanted the evidence in the BVAS machines preserved before they are reconfigured, because information on the INEC back end server vary from time to time.

Responding, Inuwa cautioned the court against granting the application by Obi and LP on the grounds that it could negatively affect INEC’s preparation for Saturday’s elections.

He said the granting of the application “will cause us serious delay in the conduct of the governorship election coming in 11 March”.

Inuwa said: “We need the BVAS for the next election. Granting the order will act as clog in our preparation and may affect the conduct of the election, which date is circumscribed by the constitution,” he said.

He added that each machine needed to be configured separately and done one after the other, because each polling units is peculiar.

Inuwa said no data would be lost if they are moved to INEC’s back end server, because the data transferred there are secure.

The court could not hear similar motions filed Atiku.

When lawyer to the PDP and Atiku, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), informed the court about the motions he filed, Inuwa said he was just served and required time to respond.

The court’s three-member panel, presided over by Joseph Ikyegh, ordered lawyers to parties to return on Wednesday at 2pm for the hearing of the motions.

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