THE Court of Appeal, Abuja, on Wednesday, March 8, granted the request of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used for the February 25, Presidential and National Assembly election.
In a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of justices, the court held that not granting the request would endanger the conduct of the March 11 governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
The court agreed with INEC that information on accreditation contained in the BVAS devices had been uploaded into its backup server and could be accessed at any time.
The appellate court predicated its agreement with INEC on the ground that all averments in the counter affidavit of the electoral body were not challenged.
The court also ordered INEC to provide those who wish to inspect sensitive materials used for the presidential election with a Certified True Copy of the findings of the physical inspection of the BVAS and to let them inspect and undertake digital forensic analyses of all electoral materials utilised in the conduct of the poll.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja had slated Wednesday, March 8, to rule on INEC’s application to be allowed to reconfigure the BVAS machines used for the presidential election.
INEC filed the application after the court granted the request by Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be allowed to physically inspect all the BVAS machines used for the poll.
Obi and Atiku, who are challenging the result declared by INEC, want to retrieve data from the BVAS that represented the actual results from polling locations.
In order to preserve the evidence before the BVAS are reconfigured by INEC, they intend to physically inspect every BVAS utilised for the presidential election.
Obi and the LP equally applied to obtain the certified true copy of all the data in the BVAS.
On Monday, March 6, INEC urged the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to vary the orders granted to Obi and Atiku to inspect materials used for the presidential election.
The Commission said it needed to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the coming Governorship and States House of Assembly elections scheduled for March 11.
The Court of Appeal Abuja Division had on March 3 granted Obi and Atiku’s request to access all the sensitive materials INEC used for the presidential election.
The candidates urged the court to compel INEC to allow them to obtain documents in its custody to aid their petition against the outcome of the presidential contest.
INEC, on Wednesday, March 1, declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, winner of the presidential poll.
The Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, announced that Tinubu won with 8,794,726 votes while Atiku Abubakar finished second with 6,984,520 votes.
Labour Party (LP) candidate Peter Obi followed closely with 6,101,533 votes, while Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) came 4th with 1,496,687 votes, according to the result released by INEC.
A reporter with the ICIR
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