The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says no data would be lost while configuring the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) ahead of the governorship and state assembly elections.
Tanimu Inuwa, counsel to the INEC, spoke on Tuesday while moving an application seeking to vary the orders of the court which gave permission to Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party (LP), and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to inspect all the sensitive materials used in the conduct of the presidential election held on February 25.
The court had granted two different ex parte applications brought by Obi, Abubakar, and their respective political parties.
At the court session on Tuesday, Obi, and LP, through their team of lawyers led by Onyechi Ikpeazu, said the essence of the application was to enable them to extract data embedded in the BVAS, “which represent the actual results from polling units”.
They equally 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 are reconfigured by INEC. This is because if they are wiped out, it will affect the substance of the case,” Ikpeazu said.
The electoral body insisted that granting the request by Obi and LP would affect its preparations for the impending governorship and national assembly elections.
It told the court that there are about 176, 000 BVAS that were deployed to polling units during the presidential election.
In a motion on notice filed on March 4, the INEC’s lawyer said granting the orders would “cause a delay in the conduct of the forthcoming governorship election”.
“Each polling unit has its own particular BVAS machine which we need to configure for the forthcoming elections,” he said.
“It will be very difficult for us, within the period, to reconfigure the 176, 000 BVAS for the election.
“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.
“So, granting this application will be a clog in the process and disrupt the conduct of the elections.”
Emeka Etiaba, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) appeared for Abubakar.
After hearing all the arguments by lawyers, a three-member panel of the court of appeal adjourned the matter to Wednesday for the ruling.