ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- The Imo State Chapter of the Labour Party (LP), has raised the alarm that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the state was disobeying a court order for it to inspect the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System used in the conduct of the 11 November governorship election.
The LP chairman in the state, Callistus Ihejiagwa, while briefing journalists in Owerri, the state capital on Saturday, said the Election Petition Tribunal in the state had on 26 November, ordered INEC to allow his party access to the BVAS machine used for the conduct of the election.
Ihejiagwa said contrary to the court order which empowered the party to carry out a forensic inspection of the BVAS machine, the INEC had frustrated the process.
Ihejiagwa added that the forensic inspection of the election materials including the BVAS is contained in the order of the tribunal.
According to him, the electoral umpire had on Wednesday, denied availability of the BVAS for inspection, insisting that only the commission’s headquarters reserved the right to grant access to the BVAS for inspection.
He said that the commission, however, made available only 65 out of over 5,000 BVAS machines for inspection but denied the LP’s team of forensic experts access to the machines.
Ihejiagwa wondered why INEC would “deliberately frustrate the process of litigation “ in an election where it was only an umpire.
He said, “Contrary to orders of court for forensic analysis of BVAS machines, an INEC official is reading out figures of accreditation from the machines without allowing us access to Certified True Copies of the card copies for our due diligence.
“We have less than 24 hours to examine the BVAS machines, assemble and present our findings to the election petition tribunal but here we are still awaiting access to the machines.
“The tribunal ordered for forensic inspection of the BVAS so the BVAS is specifically contained in the Tribunal order.”
On his part, counsel for the LP governorship candidate, Athan Achonu, emphasised that the tribunal’s order for forensic examination of the BVAS machines would help ensure that the machines have not been tampered with before and after the election.
Achonu decried INEC’s disobedience to the order while restating the party’s confidence in the judiciary for the dispensation of justice.