2023: BVAS Data Still Intact — INEC

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured that data from the 2023 presidential election on the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) won’t be lost if the devices are reconfigured.

INEC on Tuesday said the data from the presidential election would be transferred to the INEC backend server where it would be safe and intact.

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The counsel to INEC, Tanimu Inuwa gave the assurance 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 lawyers to Obi and Atiku had argued that if the BVAS devices were released to INEC for the forthcoming governorship and state assembly elections without extracting the data regarding the outcome of the presidential election which they are contesting, the information on it would not be preserved and could be compromised.

Onyechi Ikpeazu said on behalf of Obi and the Labour Party (LP);

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.

Emeka Etiaba, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who represented Atiku agreed with the submission.

However, INEC’s lawyer while arguing that the data would be preserved said if the BVAS devices are not released in good time, it would affect the commission’s preparations for the March 11 governorship and state assembly elections.

He told the court;

Each polling unit has its own particular BVAS machine which we need to configure for the forthcoming elections.

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.

After hearing all the arguments by lawyers, a three-member panel of the court of appeal adjourned the matter to Wednesday for the ruling.


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