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INEC Urges Court to Refuse Physical Inspection of BVAS by LP and Peter Obi

The Court of Appeal in Abuja will rule on INEC’s application for BVAS reconfiguration and LP’s request for physical inspection.



INEC Urges Court to Refuse Physical Inspection of BVAS by LP and Peter Obi

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The Independent National Election Commission (INEC) will present a request to the Court of Appeal in Abuja to modify the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) that was utilized during the presidential election.

The application was submitted by INEC on Wednesday, the same day that the Labour Party (LP) and Peter Obi, its candidate, requested authorization to physically examine each and every BVAS used in the election.

Obi and LP’s legal team, led by Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, said the inspection was necessary to extract data from the BVAS, which represents the actual results from polling units. They also applied for a certified true copy of all BVAS data.

According to Ikpeazu, the purpose of the application was to preserve the evidence before INEC reconfigured the BVAS. He argued that if the BVAS was wiped out, it would affect the substance of the case.

However, INEC opposed the application, arguing that granting it would affect preparations for the forthcoming governorship and national assembly elections. INEC’s legal team, comprised of four Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) led by Mr. Tanimu Inuwa, pleaded with the court to refuse the application.

Inuwa noted that there were about 176,000 BVAS machines that were deployed to polling units during the presidential election, and each polling unit has its own particular BVAS machine that needs to be configured for the forthcoming elections.

He further noted that it would be very difficult for INEC to reconfigure the 176,000 BVAS machines within the period if Obi and LP’s application was granted. Inuwa added that INEC had already stated in its affidavit that no information in the BVAS would be lost as they would transfer all the data in the BVAS to their backend server. He argued that granting the application would be a clog in the process and may delay the conduct of the elections.

After hearing arguments from both parties, Justice Joseph Ikyegh led the panel adjourned ruling on the matter until Wednesday. The ruling on the application will determine whether INEC will be allowed to reconfigure the BVAS or whether Obi and LP will be granted permission to conduct a physical inspection of the BVAS machines.

The BVAS is a voter verification system that was introduced by INEC to improve the credibility of the electoral process in Nigeria. It is designed to ensure that only eligible voters are allowed to vote, and that each voter is only allowed to vote once. The BVAS system uses biometric data, such as fingerprints and facial recognition, to verify the identity of voters.

The use of the BVAS system during the presidential election was a major talking point in the aftermath of the election, with some opposition parties and civil society groups alleging that the system was compromised. The BVAS system was one of the issues raised by the PDP in its petition challenging the outcome of the election.

The outcome of the ruling on the application by INEC and the LP will have significant implications for the credibility of the electoral process in Nigeria. It will also have political implications for the LP and Obi, as well as for other political parties that may be considering legal challenges to the outcome of the presidential election.

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