The Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Wednesday, has given the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, approval to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, it used for the presidential elections.
The court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of justices, held that stopping the electoral body from reconfiguring the BVAS would adversely affect Saturday’s governorship and state assemblies 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.
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 had in an affidavit it filed before the court, assured that the accreditation data contained in the BVAS could not be tampered with or lost, as they would be stored and easily retrieved from its accredited back-end server.
It further observed that neither Obi nor LP controverted the depositions in INEC’s affidavit, stressing that since such averments were not challenged, it amounted to admission by the applicants.
Nevertheless, the court ordered INEC to allow the applicants to inspect and carry out digital forensic examination of all the electoral materials used in the conduct of the elections, as well as to avail them the Certified True Copy, CTC, of result of the physical inspection of the BVAS.
The Justice Joseph Ikyegh-led panel faulted Obi and LP for repeating their request to be allowed to scan and make copies of the electoral materials in INEC’s possession.
Noting that the request was earlier granted, the panel held that repeating the prayer amounted to an abuse of court process. It will be recalled that INEC had insisted that the reconfiguration of the BVAS was necessary since they would be deployed for the next round of elections.