INEC Rejects Labour Party Request To Witness BVAS Reconfiguration

The Labour Party on Thursday, 9th March 2023 knocked the Independent National Electoral Commission, saying the electoral body deliberately came up with its idea of reconfiguring the Bimodal Voter’s Accreditation System machines after its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, sought to examine the election materials. This was as the party faulted the commission’s claim of backing up the data retrieved from the BVAS without the presence of independent witnesses and representatives of political parties.

The protest is coming barely 24 hours after INEC rescheduled the planned governorship and states House of Assembly elections earlier slated for March 11, 2023 to March 18, 2023 in order to reconfigure the BVAS machines.

The move was made possible after the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja granted the commission’s request to reconfigure the BVAS that were used for the presidential poll. The court had, in an unanimous decision by a three-member panel of Judges, dismissed objection by the Labour Party and held that preventing the electoral body from reconfiguring the BVAS would adversely affect the forthcoming governorship and state house of assembly elections.

But the Chief Spokesman for the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, reiterated that it was wrong of INEC to claim that it had backed up the data from the BVAS without any witness. Tanko further accused the electoral body of constantly changing its rule of engagement to cover up some of the anomalies they earlier observed.

According to the words of INEC spokesperson Oyekanmi; “Of course, political parties are free to witness a test-run of the BVAS. However, it is really curious that the Labour Party would express any desire to witness such an activity. What exactly do they want to see? Would the party also want to witness when ballot papers and result sheets are designed and printed?

“It is like students demanding to be present when their teachers are determining examination questions. While the commission appreciates and maintains a very cordial relationship with the Inter-Party Advisory Council, the boundaries are well defined and known to both parties. When asked the date INEC will complete the BVAS reset and storage of data in the back-up, Oyekanmi said “about three days time.”

Austine Ikeru
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