Appeal Court to rule on INEC’s application to reconfigure BVAS as Obi opposes request

The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on Tuesday, fixed Wednesday for ruling on a request by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking a review of its orders permitting Peter Obi to inspect electoral materials used for the conduct of the presidential election.

Mr Obi was granted leave by the appellate court to inspect the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines and other sensitive materials that INEC deployed for the conduct of the 25 February poll.

The court had restrained INEC from tampering with the BVAS machines.

But INEC approached the appellate court to vary the orders. The electoral umpire explained that it needed to reconfigure the BVAS machines and redeploy them for this Saturday, 11 March’s governorship and state parliamentary election.

At the resumption of proceedings in the suit on Tuesday, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal led by Joseph Ikyegh slated Wednesday, 8 March for ruling after taking arguments from lawyers to INEC and Mr Obi.


INEC lawyer, Tanimu Inuwa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), urged the court to review the earlier order to enable the electoral umpire reconfigure the BIVAS machines for deployment to the over 1000 polling units across Nigeria.

“No data or information will be lost in the course of transferring data from the BIVAS to the backend server or cloud (of INEC),” Mr Inuwa explained.

He argued that any delay in granting the application would delay the conduct of the Saturday state governorship and House of Assembly election.

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But Mr Obi’s lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), disagreed with INEC.

Mr Ikpeazu contended that reconfiguring the BIVAS would alter the data that had been stored on it from the presidential election and National Assembly election.

He begged the court to dismiss INEC’s application.

In a related development, the appellate court fixed Wednesday for hearing in a similar application filed by INEC concerning Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Atiku also secured the court’s permission to inspect the electoral materials that were used for the polls.

The separate suit could not be heard on Tuesday because Atiku’s lawyer, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), needed time to respond to INEC’s filing.


In the two separate ex parte applications, Atiku and Mr Obi alongside their political parties urged the court to compel INEC to allow them to obtain documents it used for the presidential election to aid their petitions against the outcome of the presidential election.

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“An order granting the applicants’ permission to do electronic scanning and make photocopies of voter’s registration, ballot papers used in the conduct of the election for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held on the Feb. 25.

“An order granting leave to the applicants to carry out Digital Forensic Inspection of BVAS machines used for the conduct of the Feb. 25 election for the Office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Also, the duo sought an order restraining INEC “from tampering with the information embedded in the BVAS machines until the due inspection was conducted and Certified True Copies of them issued”.

The court in its consideration ordered INEC to allow the applicants to inspect all the electoral materials used in the conduct of the presidential election.

READ ALSO: INEC seeks Appeal Court’s permission to reconfigure BVAS

The court permitted the appellants to do electronic scanning and/or make photocopies of Voter Registration, Ballot Papers used in the conduct of the presidential election.

“That leave is hereby granted to the applicants to carry out Digital Forensic Inspection of BVAS machines used for the conduct of the 25 February 2023 election for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the court ordered.

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