PEPC: INEC in confusion, contradicts itself over BVAS data

The ongoing court case at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), filed by Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), challenging Bola Tinubu's victory in the February 25th presidential election, has taken an interesting turn. 

Counsels representing Nigeria's Electoral body, INEC, informed the Court that they would not allow LP and Obi to inspect the Biometric Voter Authentication System (BVAS), stating that the BVAS only contained data from the Gubernatorial Elections, thereby contradicting their previous statement in March.

INEC's counsel, Tanimu Inuwa, had previously assured the court that reconfiguring the BVAS ahead of the March 18th governorship elections across the country would not affect the presidential election data stored in the device because it would be transferred to the commission's backend server.

Inuwa made this statement while moving an application seeking to modify the court's orders that granted permission to Peter Obi, the LP candidate, and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), allowing them to inspect all the sensitive materials used in the conduct of the presidential election held on February 25th.

The court had granted two separate ex parte applications brought by Obi, Abubakar, and their respective political parties.

During the March court session, Obi and LP, represented by their team of lawyers led by Onyechi Ikpeazu, stated that the essence of the application was to enable them to extract data embedded in the BVAS, which they claimed represented the actual results from polling units.

They also applied to obtain the certified true copy (CTC) of all the data in the BVAS.

"My lords, this is to ensure that the evidence is preserved before the BVAS is reconfigured by INEC. If the data is wiped out, it will impact the substance of the case," Ikpeazu said.

However, the electoral body contradicted these claims by stating that no data from the presidential election would be lost as a result of the reconfiguration.

"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. Our backend server preserves the data," INEC had previously stated in March.

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