The independent electoral commission (INEC) has decided to postpone the upcoming gubernatorial election scheduled for the 11th of March by one week to the 18th of March. The electoral referee reached this decision following the drama caused by the Bimordial voters’ accreditation system (BVAS) during the presidential elections.
The electoral body has been in court over the application seeking to extract data embedded in the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) and inspect other election materials since the conclusion of the presidential and national assembly polls.
Recall that Nigerians lamented the inefficiencies of the BVAS machine and the results viewing portal, IReV, during the recently concluded presidential elections. The Labour party and People’s democratic party went to court to request that they review the machines after INEC announced that Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling APC won the elections.
Following the comments from Nigerians, Mahmoud Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), assured all Nigerians that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) will “run optimally” during the governorship and state assembly elections scheduled to hold across the nation this weekend.
“The deployment of BVAS has gone a long way to sanitise voter accreditation as can be seen from the result of recent elections.” he said.
Since last week, the Commission has intensified the review of the technology to ensure that glitches experienced, particularly with the upload of results, are rectified. We are confident that going forward, the system will run optimally.”
Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s (LP) presidential candidate, requested a court order “restraining the 1st respondent (INEC) from tampering with the information embedded in the BVAS machines until the due inspection is completed and certified true copies (CTC) of them issued” in an application.
Earlier today, The court of appeal refused to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from reconfiguring the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) ahead of the governorship and state assembly elections.
In the ruling delivered, a three-member panel of the court of appeal led by Joseph Ikyegh held that restraining the electoral commission would constrain INEC from conducting the March 11 elections, The Cable reports
Read also: Should the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) be trusted for 2023 polls?
Why INEC postponed March 11 elections
“The elections were postponed to allow one more week for preparations,” an official familiar with the meeting told Peoples Gazette on Wednesday night. “We should be able to get everything in order before March 18.”
INEC, in a statement late Wednesday signed by Festus Okoye, INEC national commissioner and chairman information and voter education committee, said although the ruling of the tribunal makes it possible for the commission to commence the preparation of the BVAS for the governorship and state assembly elections, “it has come far too late for the reconfiguration to be concluded”.
“Consequently, the commission has taken the difficult but necessary decision to reschedule the Governorship and State Assembly elections which will now take place on Saturday 18 March 2023. By this decision, campaigns will continue until midnight of Thursday 16 March 2023 i.e. 24 hours before the new date for the election,” the statement reads.
“This decision has not been taken lightly but it is necessary to ensure that there is adequate time to back up the data stored on the over 176,000 BVAS machines from the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on 25th February 2023 and then to reconfigure them for the Governorship and State Assembly elections.
“This has been the practice for all elections, including the period when the Commission was using the Smart. However, we wish to reiterate that the Commission is not against litigants inspecting election materials. Consequently, it will continue to grant all litigants access to the materials they require to pursue their cases in court.
“We wish to reassure all political parties and candidates that the data from the Presidential and National Assembly elections will be backed up and available in INEC cloud facilities, including the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
“Political parties can apply for Certified True Copies of the backend data of the BVAS. Also, the results on the BVAS will continue to be available on the IReV for interested parties to access.
“We thank Nigerians and friends of Nigeria for their understanding as we continue to deal with these difficult issues and navigate these challenging times.”
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