POLITICAL PARTIES CAN’T WITNESS BVAS RECONFIGURATION – INEC

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PIC.19. From left: National commissioner, Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prince Solomon Adedeji; chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; and another national commissioner, Prof. Antonia Okoosi-Simbine, during the INEC’s presentation of certificate of registration to five new political parties, in Abuja on Friday (16/6/17). 03311/16/6/2017/Hogan-Bassey/ BJO/NAN

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that political parties are not allowed to witness the backup or reconfiguration of the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) machines.

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, had earlier sought an order of the court restraining the INEC from tampering with the information embedded in the BVAS machines until the due inspection was conducted and certified true copies (CTC) of them issued.

Counsel to the INEC, Tanimu Inuwa,  had however given assurance that no information in the BVAS would be lost during the reconfiguration as all data would be transferred to the commission’s backend server.

Ruling on Obi’s suit, the court said granting the application would amount to tying the hands of INEC and therefore refused to restrain the commission from reconfiguring the BVAS.

Still not satisfied with the court’s verdict, Yunusa Tanko, chief spokesperson of the Obi-Datti campaign council, expressed the desire for INEC to invite parties to witness the backup process.

He said, “If there is going to be transparency, what INEC needs to do is to invite everybody with their technical experts to see what the commission intends to back up from the original source.

In his reaction to Tanko’s comments, Rotimi Oyekanmi, chief press secretary to the INEC chairman said, parties can watch the test run of the BVAS, but external persons are not allowed to witness its reconfiguration and backup.

“The reconfiguration or data back-up processes of the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) machines is strictly an internal affair of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that no external eyes are allowed to witness.” Oyekanmi said.

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