Presidential poll: Court okays INEC’s request to reconfigure BVAS…

Written by on March 9, 2023

The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja yesterday granted the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the permission to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines, it used for the presidential election that was held on February 25.

The court, in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel of justices, held that stopping the electoral body from reconfiguring the BVAS would adversely affect the coming governorship and state Assembly elections.

Besides, it noted that INEC filed an affidavit, wherein it assured that accreditation data contained in the BVAS could not be tampered with or lost, as they would be stored and easily retrieved from its back-end server.

However, the court dismissed a motion that INEC filed to vary the order it made on March 3, which granted both Obi and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, access to inspect and obtain copies of sensitive materials that were used for the election.

INEC had contended that allowing the Applicants to have access to and make copies of some of the sensitive materials, would compromise the secrecy of the ballot papers.

Meanwhile, though the court restated its order for both Obi and Atiku to be allowed to access the electoral materials, it warned that the order is not permission for the duo to electronically open INEC’s database.

Similarly, the court directed INEC to also allow the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to inspect and obtain copies of the electoral material to enable him to prepare his defence against petitions that may be lodged to overturn his election victory.

It held that both Tinubu and his party are entitled to have access to the materials in INEC’s possession. Tinubu and the APC had in separate ex-parte applications brought before the court, said they would need the materials to prepare their defence.

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