Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has sought an order from the court of appeal to access sensitive materials used by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of the presidential election.
With 8,794,726 votes, Tinubu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared the winner of the February 25 poll ahead of Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 6,984,520 votes, and Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party (LP), who secured 6,101,533 votes.
At the court session on Tuesday, the president-elect, through his lawyer, Akintola Makinde, said he would need to inspect, scan and make photocopies of some of the electoral materials to enable him to prepare his defence against petitions that would seek to nullify his election.
“The materials will be relevant in helping us to prepare our defence and also make comparison with the information contained in INEC’s back-end server,” Makinde said.
INEC had asked the Presidential Election Petition Court to vary the orders which were earlier granted to the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party (LP)’s Peter Obi to inspect materials used for last presidential election.
At the day’s sitting, counsel for the LP, Onyechi Ikpeazu, said his team needs a physical inspection of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to enable them carry out a forensic inspection.
They also asked that the evidences are preserved before they are configured by INEC.
Counsel for INEC, Tanimu Inuwa, however, asked the court to dismiss the application, on the ground that it will cause serious delay in the governorship election for March 11.
He added that there are 176,000 polling units across the country and each have its own unique BVAS machine which needs to be configured and it will be very difficult for them to configure such within a short period.
He assured that no data will be lost as they have transferred the data to their backend server.
The Court of Appeal Abuja had on March 3 granted the request of Obi and Atiku to have access to all the sensitive materials INEC deployed for the conduct of the presidential election held on February 25.
The applicants urged the court to compel INEC to allow them to obtain documents in its custody that were used for the presidential election.
They maintained that the requested documents would aid their petition against the outcome of the presidential contest that was declared in favour of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.