..Says Politicians Will Not Witness BVAS Reconfiguration Process The Independent National Electoral Commission has explained why the aggrieved political parties have not been able to inspect the materials used for the recently conducted presidential election, stating that the materials are still scattered across the local governments across the country and difficult to collate at the
..Says Politicians Will Not Witness BVAS Reconfiguration Process
The Independent National Electoral Commission has explained why the aggrieved political parties have not been able to inspect the materials used for the recently conducted presidential election, stating that the materials are still scattered across the local governments across the country and difficult to collate at the national levels.
Speaking on Arise News, the National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voters Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye noted that the commission will not flagrantly disobey the court ruling which gave the Labour Party, Peoples Democratic Party, and the All Progressives Congress the nudge to inspect the elections materials.
Recall that the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party had faulted the conduct of the presidential elections in which the candidate of the All Progressives Congress was declared the winner, and approached the electoral petition tribunal to challenge the outcome of the poll.
In their legal proceedings, the aggrieved political parties prayed the court to order the electoral commission to allow them to inspect all the materials used for the presidential poll, including the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and other sensitive materials.
However, the electoral commission also headed to court to seek a variation of judgment that would allow it to reconfigure the BVAS to conduct the governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, which the court granted.
Subsequently, the aggrieved political parties have accused INEC of denying them access to inspect the materials, thereby threatening to take to the streets to protest against the action of the electoral commission.
Reacting to a bunch of allegations against the commission, Barrister Festus Okoye denied the allegations that INEC has refused to allow the political parties to inspect the materials, indicating that some of the lawyers representing the political parties do not understand the trajectory of electoral laws, thereby failed to channel their requests to the appropriate quarters.
He further noted that since the elections are conducted at the state and local governments across the country, the politicians are to be directed to the state and local governments from the national headquarters which are the appropriate places to find answers to their requests.
“The commission will not deliberately or flagrantly disobey the order of a properly constituted court of law, and in this case, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the Court of Appeal.
“I think that what the parties involved in this election should do, is to send lawyers who understand the trajectory of the electoral process and request for some of these materials.
“If you are requesting to scan ballot papers used during the election, ballot papers are not in the headquarters of INEC.
“Some of these ballot papers are still in our local government offices and so the proper place to scan them will be at our local government offices”, he said.
Speaking on the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, Mr. Festus Okoye stated that due to the sensitivity of the information on BVAS, the commission will not allow politicians to witness the reconfiguration process.
He also noted that the electoral commission will only change the dates and the timeframe of the elections during the reconfiguration process, explaining that other necessary information had already be registered on the accreditation machine.
“The aggrieved parties will not be part of the reconfiguration process of the BVAS, because the BVAS is sensitive election material. Moreover, the BVAS is not in INEC headquarters.
The BVAS machines are located in all the 774 local government areas of the federation where we mobilized from and conducted the February 25th, 2023 presidential and national assembly elections.
Now I think there are some forms of misunderstanding relating to this whole process of reconfiguration of the BVAS. The only thing the commission is doing is only to reset to recognise the elections type, being governorship and state assembly elections and to recognise the new date when we are going to conduct these elections, and the timeframe within which the BVAS is going to open and the timeframe within which BVAS has to lock.
That’s exactly what we are doing, the configuration of BVAS in terms of inputting or uploading the data of each registered voters had already taken place before the presidential and national assembly elections.
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