The Labour Party requested to see how the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) devices were set up after the presidential election on February 25.
However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rejected the request. The commission’s action contravenes a court judgment that approved INEC’s request to have the machines reconfigured.
The Labour Party had asked to observe the BVAS machines’ data-back procedures, claiming that doing so would guarantee transparency.
INEC countered that the machine configuration was a private matter and was not accessible to political parties for review. Rotimi Oyekanmi, the chief press secretary for INEC, compared the demand to students asking to be present while their instructors choose the exam questions.
Yunusa Tanko, the head of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council’s press office, had also argued that INEC ought to “invite everyone with their technological experts to see what the commission plans to back up.” The electoral body “went to court for reconfiguration of the BVAS machines after Obi asked to examine election materials,” the man claimed, accusing the commission of changing the rules of engagement.
Barrister Julius Abure, who was the National Secretary of the Labour Party, was elected as the new National Chairman by the Labour Party National Executive Council (NEC) in 2021. He said that since INEC turned his party away, he has lost faith in their ability to conduct free and fair election.
Oyekanmi clarified that while political parties are free to witness a test-run of the BVAS, they are not allowed to witness the configuration or data backup processes. He added that it would take INEC three days to complete the reconfiguration of the machines.
The Labour Party’s demand for openness in the BVAS restructuring procedure is a component of a larger campaign for free and fair elections in Nigeria. With the governorship and state house of assembly elections just a few days away, it is still unclear whether INEC’s decision to deny political parties access to observe how the BVAS devices were set up will have any bearing on the results of the election.
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