INEC denies LP’s request to witness BVAS reconfiguration 

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,  was criticized by the Labor Party on Thursday.
The party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, was trying to check election documents when the election referee decided to reconfigure the machines of the dual-mode voter recognition system.

It came as the party criticized the commission’s statement that the information obtained from the BVAS was supported by independent witnesses and that political party leaders were not present.

Less than 24 hours have passed since INEC postponed the scheduled elections for the governor and state house of Representatives that were originally scheduled for March 11 to reconfigure the BVAS apparatus.

The decision came after the Presidential Election Appeals Court at the Abuja Court of Appeal accepted the committee’s request to reconfigure the BVAS used for the presidential poll. In a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel, the court overruled the LP’s objection and ruled that preventing election arbitration from reconfiguring the BVAS would negatively impact gubernatorial elections. and the next president.

But Obi-Datti’s Presidential Campaign Council chief spokesperson, Yunusa Tanko, reiterated that INEC was wrong to claim that it backed up BVAS data without any witnesses.

Tanko also accused the election arbitrator of repeatedly changing his participation rules to cover up some anomalies they had previously observed.

He said:-

“Are we privy or invited to see what was being backed up? If there is going to be transparency, what INEC needs to do is to invite everybody with their technological experts to see what the commission intends to back up from the original source. Was this done?

“We didn’t want to use that as evidence in the court of law. INEC should not forget that we also have our own results. Anything contradictory to that particular result and what they backed up will be totally unacceptable to us.

“It is clear right from the beginning that INEC deliberately went to court for reconfiguration of the BVAS machines after Obi requested to inspect election materials. Of course, nobody, not even you and I, know the commission can come up with anything like reconfiguration at this time. This was done after we demanded to inspect those machines.

“When you are going into an arrangement, it is always important to tell people about the rule of engagement and ensure you don’t change it. But INEC keeps on changing the rule of engagement in order to cover their shady deals. It is unfortunate that we have to bring INEC down to this particular level.”

While saying they have lost confidence in the committee’s ability to hold free and fair elections, a spokesperson for the LP campaign noted that Obi is consulting attorneys. to determine whether he should appeal the court’s decision to reconfigure BVAS.

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Tanko also warned voters to try to raise their standards and do what is necessary to avoid causing public outrage.
Similarly, the People’s Democratic Party has expressed strong reservations about INEC’s ability to conduct the upcoming gubernatorial and gubernatorial elections in a free, fair, and transparent manner.

Speaking to The PUNCH, national publisher PDP Debo Ologunagba said the commission’s conduct over the past two weeks has led most Nigerians to question its sincerity.

He said:-

“The governorship and Assembly polls were to hold on March 11, according to INEC, knowing full well that they could not do it. Now, they have moved it to March 18. Why can’t they allow the parties who had got a court order to get that information from BVAS so that they can be sure of their integrity? Given the behaviour of INEC in recent weeks, how can we be sure that they can even conduct acceptable polls this time?

“This is about the integrity and believability of INEC. What is the average Nigerian saying about INEC today? From the behaviour and activities of INEC, during and after the election, it was clear they were not ready to walk their own talk.”

On assurances by the commission that data from BVAS would be secured in a back-end and cloud, and made accessible to the PDP at any time, Ologunagba said, “This election is technologically driven but today, INEC is on its own, deliberately sabotaging a process it promised the whole world it would sanitize.

“On Google, you would realise that there is possibility of losing data when saved in the cloud. There is the risk of losing data. So, if there is a risk of losing data, why is INEC not worried like the rest of us? How are we sure that this data will be preserved? This is the question we want INEC to answer.”

But in response, INEC president’s press director, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said backing up BVAS data was an internal matter for the committee and was not checked by the parties.

“The reconfiguration or data back-processes of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines is strictly an internal affair of the Independent National Electoral Commission, that no external eyes are allowed to witness.

Of course, political parties are free to witness a test run of the BVAS, and they did during the mock accreditation exercise that we carried out before the general elections.

“However, it is really, really curious that the Labor Party would express any desire to witness such an activity. What exactly do they want to see? Would the party also want to witness when ballot papers and result sheets are designed and printed?

“It is like students demanding to be present when their teachers are determining examination questions. While the commission appreciates and maintains a very cordial relationship with the Inter-Party Advisory Council, the boundaries are well defined and known to both parties,” Oyekanmi said.

Asked when INEC will complete the BVAS reset and storage of data in the backup, Oyekanmi said “about three days.”

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