As a result of INEC being unable to initiate the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS, machines earlier before the proposed election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has postponed the governorship and state assembly elections scheduled to be held on March 11 to March 18.
The Court of Appeal, yesterday, granted the appeal of the commission to reconfigure the BVAS used for the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly polls in order to get prepared for the state elections.
Confirming the postponement, the Head of Voter Education, Publicity, Gender and Civil Society Organisation of INEC in Ondo State, Funke Segun-Osifeso said: “This is to inform you that the House of Assembly election has been officially postponed till Saturday 18/03/2023. Therefore, the distribution exercise slated for tomorrow has been cancelled. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”
The INEC hierarchy was said to be in a meeting deliberating the matter last night and was yet to confirm the issue at the time of the press release.
According to INEC, another reason why the election may be postponed is insurgence in some parts of the nation.
It was noted that due to the unrest experienced during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections, some Adhoc staff are scared of coming out to carry out their duty in the March 11 elections.
The elections could be postponed, except the appeal court reversed the appeal already granted to the Presidential Candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Atiku Abubakar and his Labour Party, LP counterpart, Peter Obi.
Both the INEC National Commissioner in charge of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye and the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi were unavoidably absent for comments.
Although, there was confusion among the nation’s political circles on Wednesday night, following the rumour that INEC might likely postpone governorship and state assembly elections because they may not be able to reconfigure the BVAS machines before Tuesday.
The court had restricted INEC from Altering the inputs in BVAS used in last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections last week.
Obi in his appeal which was moved by his team of lawyers, led by Mr Alex Ejesieme, SAN, solicited for six principal reliefs, while Atiku’s lawyer, Adedamola Faloku, solicited seven prayers from the tribunal.
Among the reliefs solicited by the plaintiffs were; “An order granting the applicants’ permission to carry out an electronic scanning and make a duplicate of voter’s registration, ballot papers used in the conduction of the election for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held on the 25th day of February 2023.
“An order giving the plaintiffs permission to conduct Digital Forensic Inspection of BVAS machines used for the 25th February 2023 election for the Office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The plaintiffs also solicited an order preventing “the First Respondent from touching any information recorded in the BVAS machines until the due inspection is carried out and the confirmed duplicate of them issued”.
The court granted the reliefs and with regards to the BVAS, said; “That leave is hereby granted to the applicants to carry out Digital Forensic Inspection of BVAS machines used for the conduct of the 25th February 2023 Election for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
However, INEC has appealed to the tribunal to grant them leave to reconfigure the same BVAS for the sub-national elections.
This is likely to take a minimum of five days to reconfigure the BVAS.