Atiku, Obi kick against reconfiguration of BVAS

Ogunsakin Mustapha
6 Min Read
Tinubu, Obi, Atiku

From Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja

The Presidential Election Court sitting at the Court of Appeal, Abuja has scheduled ruling for Wednesday on the application by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking to vary the court’s order for inspection of materials used for the conduct of the February 25, 2023 presidential election.

At the sitting on Tuesday, a three member panel of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh, announced Wednesday for ruling after the parties in the suit adopted and argued their briefs of argument for and against the motion.

It will be recalled that INEC had on March 4 approached the appellate court for an order allowing it to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used for the presidential and the National Assembly elections.

According to INEC, the reconfiguration will enable it deployed the BVAS for the Saturday, March 11 governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.

In his argument, INEC’s counsel, Mr Inuwa Tanimu (SAN), urged the court to grant its request saying, the defendants have nothing to fear, since the information that would be wiped out during reconfiguration would be stored and kept save in its server in the cloud.

He argued further that time is not on the side of the electoral umpire pointed out that if the earlier order is not varied, it may affect the conduct of the March 11 governorship and state Houses of Assembly election.

In their objection, the duo of Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu and Chief Emeka Etiaba both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, representing Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar respectively, argued that if the order is varied vital information needed in proving their case against the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election would be wiped out.

According to Ikpeazu, the real figure of accredited voters can only be gotten from the BVAS, adding that if the BVAS are tampered with in the name of reconfiguration, vital information would be lost.

The lawyer therefore argued that the March 11 elections can be postponed if situation warrants, asking the court to dismiss INEC’s application.

Ikpeazu prayed the court to grant his clients permission to conduct a physical and digital forensic inspection of the presidential electoral materials as well as an order directing INEC to issue him a Certified True Copy (CTC) of registered voters and polling units results.

The request according to him was to ensure that evidence are preserved before they are wiped out, noting that, information on the INEC server vary from day to day and that, it will be when information is gotten from the BVAS that it will be possible to prove incidence of over-voting in the election.

It will be recalled that the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, in their protest against the outcome of the presidential election, obtained an order of court to inspect the materials used in the conduct of the presidential poll, including the BVAS.

INEC, earlier, declared candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, winner of the presidential election having scored the highest number of votes cast in the election.

Tinubu polled over eight million votes to emerge victorious, while Atiku came second with nearly seven million votes and Obi third, with a little above six million.

After the declaration, both Tinubu and Atiku won 12 states each, while Obi won 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Disastified with the outcome, both Atiku and Obi vowed to ventilate their grievances at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which is the court saddled with the responsibility of hearing and determining cases surrounding the conduct of presidential election.

After listening to their respective applications last Friday, Justice Ikyegh made an order permitting Atiku and Obi to inspect “All the electoral materials used in the conduct of the election for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held on February 25, 2023”.

The court also permitted them to do electronic scanning and / or make photocopies of Voter’s Registration, ballot papers used in the presidential election.

In addition, both Atiku and Obi are by the order permitted to “carryout digital forensic inspection of BVAS machines used for the conduct of the February 25” presidential election.

Also on Wednesday , the court would also, on Wednesday ruled in the applications of the APC and Tinubu, praying the court to also allow them carry out similar inspection of electoral materials used for the February 25 presidential election.

Dear readers, we really need your support to keep on serving you with authoritative, truthful, and juicy stories everyday. For your support, please reach out to the editor

TAGGED: , , , , , ,
Share This Article