The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) has scheduled ruling for 2pm on Wednesday on the motions by the President-elect, Bola Tinubu and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for leave to inspect materials used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for last presidential election.
The tribunal, during Tuesday’s proceedings also fixed ruling for the same time on the motions by INEC, the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, Peter Obi.
Tinubu’s lawyer, Akintola Makinde, while moving the two motions ex-parte, said they were to seek the court’s permission to inspect materials used for the election and obtain copies and it other materials to prepare his case.
Lawyer to the APC, Omosanya Popoola moved the two ex-parte motions filed for the party and in which it seeks similar prayers as contained in Tinubu’s motions.
Earlier, lawyer to INEC, Tanimu Inuwa (SAN) while arguing his client’s motion on notice, prayed the court to grant the prayers sought.
Inuwa said it was necessary that the order granted Obi and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to inspect the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) be varied.
He said the commission wants to be allowed to store the date currently being held in the BVAS on INEC’s back end server to enable it deploy the same machines for the governorship and House of Assembly elections slated for March 11.
Inuwa said time was of the essence because INEC requires adequate time to reconfigure the BVAS machines before the court next round of elections.
He said INEC was particularly concerned with orders four and five, which relates to the digital and forensic analysis of the BVAS machines.
Lawyer to Obi and LP, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) objected to INEC application and urged the court to dismiss it.
Ikpeazu subsequently moved the motion he filed for his clients’ for the court’s permission to conduct physical inspection of the BVAS machines to enable them extract information embedded therein.
He added that his clients also want to obtain a certified true copy (CTC) of the report of the BVAS machines.
Ikpeazu said Obi and LP want the evidence in the BVAS machines preserved before they are reconfigured, because information on the INEC back end server vary from time to time.
Responding, Inuwa cautioned the court against granting the application by Obi and LP on the grounds that it court negatively affect INEC’s preparation for the March 11 elections.
He said the granting of the application “will cause us serious delay in the conduct of the governorship election coming in 11 March.
“We need the BVAS for the next election. Granting the order will act as clog in our preparation and may affect the conduct of the election, which date is circumscribed by the Constitution,” he said.
He added that each machine needed to be configured separately and done one after the other, because each polling units is peculiar.
Inuwa said no data would be lost if they are moved to INEC’s back end server, because the data transferred there are secure.
The court could not hear similar motions filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
When lawyer to the PDP and Atiku, Emeka Etiaba (SAN) informed the court about the motions he filed, Inuwa said he was just served and required time to respond.
The court’s three-member panel, presided over by Joseph Ikyegh, ordered lawyers to parties to return on Wednesday at 2pm for the hearing of the motions.