The Court of Appeal, however, ordered INEC to upload the data on the BVAS machines to the back-end server and make certified true copies of the data to the respondents.
The court had restrained INEC from tampering with the BVAS machines data.
Pay Attention toAfenifere Rejects Tinubu’s Victory, Insists Peter Obi Won
On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal in Abuja granted INEC permission to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used in the country’s presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25.
A three-member appellate court panel led by Joseph Ikyegh granted the electoral body permission to reconfigure the machines ahead of Saturday’s governorship and Houses of Assembly elections across the federation’s 36 states.
The panel, however, directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to upload the data from the BVAS machines to the back-end server and provide respondents with certified true copies of the data.
The court had earlier granted an order permitting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku, and his Labour Party rival, Peter Obi, to inspect the BVAS machines and other sensitive electoral materials.
The opposition candidates who finished second and third behind the All Progressives Congress (APC) president-elect, Bola Tinubu, had requested access to the electoral materials before filing petitions in court to challenge the results of the 25 presidential elections.
In addition to granting them access to the materials, the court in its ruling on 3 March barred INEC from tampering with the BVAS machines pending the candidates’ inspection.
However, on March 4, INEC filed an ex parte application requesting that the Court of Appeal reverse the ex parte order in favour of the PDP and Labour Party candidates.
INEC asked the court to modify the order so that it could reconfigure the BVAS machines for the governorship and state house of assembly elections on March 11th.
According to INEC’s lawyer, Tanimu Inuwa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the application became necessary as a result of an order prohibiting it from tampering with the information embedded in the BVAS machines until the required inspection and certification was completed.
He also stated that the commission would need enough time to reconfigure the BVAS in order to conduct the election on Saturday.
In court, he stated that INEC would upload from the back end.
In his argument, Mr Obi’s counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu, a SAN, urged the court not to grant INEC’s application, which he claimed would result in the loss of the data they sought.
“All we are asking for is a physical inspection of the BVAS so that we can obtain evidence before it is configured,” he told the court.
As a result, he objected to the INEC application and urged the court not to grant it.
After hearing their arguments, the appellate court’s three-member panel adjourned the case until Wednesday for a decision.