The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said information in the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, used for February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls are intact.
The lead counsel to the Commission, Tanimu Inuwa, gave this assurance at the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday.
INEC is opposing an application filed by the Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate, Peter Obi, on BVAS deployed in the presidential poll.
Opposing the application, Inuwa argued it would delay the conduct of governorship and state houses of assembly elections scheduled for Saturday.
Recall that earlier, Obi’s lead counsel, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), had argued that the essence of the application was to enable the legal team to extract data embedded in the BVAS, “which represent the actual results from polling units.”
Obi’s lawyers also applied to obtain the certified true copy of all the data in the BVAS.
“My Lords, this is to ensure that the evidence is preserved before the BVAS are reconfigured by INEC.
“This is because if they are wiped out, it will affect the substance of the case,” Ikpeazu added.
However, INEC, through its team of lawyers comprising four Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, led by Inuwa, urged the court to refuse the application.
INEC insisted that granting the request by Obi would affect its preparations for the impending governorship and houses of assembly elections.
INEC, BVAS machines, data
It told the court that there were about 176,000 BVAS machines that were deployed in polling units during the presidential election.
“Each polling unit has its own particular BVAS machine which we need to configure for the forthcoming elections. It will be very difficult for us, within the period, to reconfigure the 176,000 BVAS.
“We have already stated in our affidavit that no information in the BVAS will be lost as we will transfer all the data in the BVAS to our backend server.
“We need the BVAS configured. So, granting this application will be a cog in the process and may delay the conduct of the elections,” INEC’s lawyer, Inuwa (SAN), pleaded.
After listening to the parties, Justice Joseph Ikyegh adjourned ruling on the matter till Wednesday.
The court issued the restraining order in the ruling it gave on Friday granting permission to the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and Obi to inspect the sensitive materials used for the conduct of the February 25 election.
Atiku and Obi obtained the order to challenge the outcome of the election which they alleged was marred by fraud and other irregularities.
INEC on March 1 declared the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate, Bola Tinubu, as the winner of the election. But the PDP and the LP candidates are contesting the outcome.
They subsequently filed separate ex parte applications, praying to be granted access to inspect sensitive materials that INEC used to conduct of the presidential poll.
The commission said it needed to reconfigure the BVAS for the next round of elections, which would be held on Saturday.
But INEC, in a motion on the notice filed on March 4, asked the court to vary the order restraining it from tampering with materials used for the election.