INEC rejects LP’s request to witness BVAS reconfiguration

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THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) criticized the Labour Party (LP) for asking to be present during the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System’s reconfiguration (BVAS).

This follows the Court of Appeal’s decision on March 8 in Abuja to approve the electoral umpire’s request to modify the BVAS system used for the presidential election.

Three justices ruled unanimously in favor of stopping INEC from reconfiguring the voting machines, concluding that doing so would have a negative impact on the governorship and state assembly elections that were rescheduled for Saturday, March 18.

Yunusa Tanko, the chief spokesperson for the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, requested permission for LP to observe the reconfiguration of BVAS, which INEC claims would be necessary to back up data gathered during the presidential election on February 25, in response to the ruling.

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The party, according to Tanko, had lost faith in INEC’s ability to hold a free and fair election.

“Are we invited or privy to see what was being backed up? If there is to be transparency, INEC needs to invite everyone and their technical experts to see what the commission plans to substantiate from the original source. A completed this?

“It is obvious from the start that INEC acted on purpose when it filed a lawsuit to have the BVAS machines reconfigured after Obi (the LP’s presidential candidate) asked to see the ballots.

Of course, neither you nor I nor anyone else knows that the commission can currently come up with anything resembling reconfiguration. This was accomplished after we demanded that those machines be inspected.

The reconfiguration of BVAS, according to Rotimi Oyekanmi, chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, is an internal matter for the commission and is not accessible to political parties.

That the Labour Party would express any interest in seeing such activity is really strange. What specifically do they desire to see? Would the party also be interested in seeing how and when ballots and result sheets are created and printed?

Political parties can, of course, observe a BVAS test run at any time, as they did during the dummy accreditation exercise we conducted prior to the general elections.

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It’s similar to students insisting on being present when their teachers are choosing the exam questions, Oyekanmi said.

The boundaries are clearly defined and known to both parties, he continued, adding that INEC “appreciates and maintains a very cordial relationship with the Inter-Party Advisory Council”.

Oyekanmi estimated that the electoral umpire would require “about three days” to finish the BVAS reset and store the data in the backup.

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