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General News of Wednesday, 8 March 2023


BVAS: INEC plans to erase the most important evidence - Obi’s Counsel Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN alleges

Counsel Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN Counsel Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN

Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, the counsel for Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of planning to destroy the most important evidence in support of the election petition.

Ikpeazu made this known when he met journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, March 7.

“There are two applications of interest. One is the application brought by INEC to vary the order, according to them, the order which enables us to scan the ballot papers will expose the identity of the voters and persons they have voted for. But we are saying that is not the objective of the applicant. That all we needed to do is to verify that they were not in questions and that we have no interest whatsoever.” According to the learned senior advocate of Nigeria, he further stated that the order brought by INEC is “…pedestrian and diversionary”.

He continued: "The other application which is of utmost importance is that INEC was seeking to reconfigure the BVAS machine ahead of the governorship elections. That they intend to wipe out the accreditation data captured for the presidential election."

He considered this to be very serious and huge. Recounting his experience at the Osun governorship tribunal and how they got the order of the tribunal to check the BVAS machine which they did and discovered that they were no over voters.

He mentioned that the information on the BVAS is the most important evidence in the entire election petition proceedings. On the timing between the checking and the governorship election considering that the timing is very short

“First of all, you need to look at the importance of the presidential election and the importance of the votes cast and the integrity of the process. I believe the issue of time should not be of any relevance and it can always be postponed. I mean this is not the first time an election is postponed in Nigeria.”

INEC requested for an order to vary the permission the court had previously granted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) to inspect materials used by the commission in the conduct of the February 25 presidential election had elicited questions about the integrity of the recently held poll.

INEC had said the request was predicated on the need to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used in the presidential election before deploying the machines for the March 11 governorship and state Houses of Assembly polls.