INEC challenges Atiku, Obi’s suit on BVAS
The Independent National Electoral Commission has asked the Presidential Election Petition Court to vary the orders that were granted to the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, respectively, to inspect materials used for the last presidential election.
INEC, in a motion on notice filed on March 4, is praying the court to vary the order which restrained it from tampering with materials used for the election.
The commission said it needed to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System for the next round of elections.
The appellate court had on March 3 granted leave to Atiku and Obi to inspect election materials used by INEC in the conduct of the February 25 presidential election.
A panel of the appellate court led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh granted the permission following two separate ex parte applications filed by Atiku and Obi, who came second and third respectively in the presidential election won by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress.
In the application filed by the commission and sighted by NAN, the commission is asking the court to vary the order to allow it to reconfigure its 176,846 BVAS for the March 11 governorship and state houses of assembly elections.
NAN reports that it is the sole prayer in the application of the electoral umpire filed at the court
No date has however been fixed for hearing of the application.
According to a source, considering the number of BVAS required to conduct the election across the states, INEC needs to reconfigure the BVAS used for the February 25 elections and deploy them to polling units for the March 11 elections.
The source said that the technical team of the commission had to be deployed on time to start the reconfiguration of the devices, which had to be done one by one.
The official further said the order was pertinent as not getting it could result in the postponement of the Saturday governorship and state houses of assembly elections.
The credible source explained that the application became necessary following the order restraining INEC from tampering with the information embedded in the BVAS machines until the due inspection was conducted and Certified True Copies of them were issued, noting that the commission would require sufficient time to reconfigure the BVAS needed to conduct the polls.
The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Voter Education and Publicity, Festus Okoye, could not be reached for a reaction on Monday as he did not respond to several calls and the text message sent to him on the issue.