• Home


The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja yesterday granted the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the permission to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines, it used for the presidential election that was held on February 25.
The court, in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel of justices, held that stopping the electoral body from reconfiguring the BVAS would adversely affect the coming governorship and state Assembly elections.

It dismissed objections that the Labour Party, LP, and its presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, raised against INEC’s move to reconfigure all the BVAS devices that were used for the presidential poll

According to the court, allowing the objections by Obi and his party would amount to “tying the hands of the Respondent, INEC.”
Besides, it noted that INEC filed an affidavit, wherein it assured that accreditation data contained in the BVAS could not be tampered with or lost, as they would be stored and easily retrieved from its back-end server.
The court held that neither Obi nor the LP controverted the depositions INEC made in the affidavit, stressing that since such averments were not challenged, it amounted to an admission by the opposing parties.
However, the court dismissed a motion that INEC filed to vary the order it made on March 3, which granted both Obi and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, access to inspect and obtain copies of sensitive materials that were used for the election.
It held that the motion INEC filed to set aside the order, lacked merit.

INEC had contended that allowing the Applicants to have access to and make copies of some of the sensitive materials, would compromise the secrecy of the ballot papers.
‘No electronic access to INEC’s database’
Meanwhile, though the court restated its order for both Obi and Atiku to be allowed to access the electoral materials, it warned that the order is not permission for the duo to electronically open INEC’s database.
Similarly, the court directed INEC to also allow the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to inspect and obtain copies of the electoral material to enable him to prepare his defence against petitions that may be lodged to overturn his election victory.
It held that both Tinubu and his party are entitled to have access to the materials in INEC’s possession.

Tinubu and the APC had in separate ex-parte applications brought before the court, said they would need the materials to prepare their defence.
The materials will be relevant in helping us prepare our defence and also make comparison with the information contained in INEC’s back-end server”, Tinubu’s lawyer, Mr Akintola Makinde submitted.
Specifically, the court ordered INEC to allow the Applicants to inspect all the electoral materials and to carry out electronic scanning and/or make photocopies of Voter Registration and Ballot Papers used for the presidential election.
It further granted them leave to conduct a Digital Forensic Inspection of BVAS machines used for the election, adding that INEC should furnish them with the Certified True Copy, CTC, of the result of the inspection. 
Though both Obi and Atiku sought an order to restrain INEC from tampering with the information contained in the BVAS, the court declined on the premise that such an order would affect the conduct of next round of elections.

Leave a Reply