INEC postpones Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections scheduled for March 11, 2023.
The elections will now hold on March 18, 2023.
INEC national commissioner and chairman, Festus Okoye, stated that the shift was to enable the electoral umpire back up the data and reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines deployed for the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly polls to be used for guber and state legislative elections.
This came hours after the Appeal Court granted INEC’s request on the reconfiguration of BVAS ahead of the March 11 state elections.
Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party had approached the court to stop INEC from reconfiguring the BVAS machines used in the previous election for the fear of tampering with the data imputed into the device.
The Commission met to assess the ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (EPT) following an ex-parte order for some political parties to inspect materials used for the Presidential election, including the forensic inspection of over 176,000 BVAS used in the election, which are located in INEC LGA offices across Nigeria.
The Commission approached the Tribunal to reconsider the order, given that the BVAS Systems were to be deployed for the Governorship and State Assembly elections and that the lack of a clearly defined timeframe for the inspection could disrupt the Commission’s ability to conduct the outstanding elections.
The Commission took the difficult but necessary decision to reschedule the Governorship and State Assembly elections for March 18, 2023, to ensure that there is adequate time to back up the data stored on the over 176,000 BVAS machines from the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 25, 2023, and then to reconfigure them for the Governorship and State Assembly elections.
This has been the practice for all elections, including the period when the Commission was using the Smart Card Readers.
The Commission reassured all political parties and candidates that the data from the Presidential and National Assembly elections would be backed up and available in INEC cloud facilities, including the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
Political parties can apply for Certified True Copies of the backend data of the BVAS.
The results on the BVAS will continue to be available on the IReV for interested parties to access.
The Commission is not against litigants inspecting election materials, and it will continue to grant all litigants access to the materials they require to pursue their cases in court.