The Labour Party in Imo State has raised concerns over INEC’s alleged refusal to comply with a court order allowing inspection of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System.
The Imo State Labour Party (LP) has expressed apprehensions regarding INEC’s reported reluctance to adhere to a court order, preventing the party from inspecting the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) utilized in the November 11 governorship election.
The LP contends that the alleged obstruction by INEC is impeding the party’s ability to fulfil the court-ordered forensic examination of the BVAS.
LP State Chairman, Callistus Ihejiagwa, briefed journalists in Owerri, revealing that the Election Petition Tribunal had issued an order on November 26 for INEC to grant the LP access to the BVAS machine used during the election.
Despite the court order, Ihejiagwa claimed that INEC obstructed the forensic inspection process.
According to Ihejiagwa, the tribunal’s order explicitly included the forensic inspection of election materials, including the BVAS machine. However, he accused INEC of frustrating the process by denying access to the BVAS machine for forensic inspection.
Ihejiagwa disclosed that INEC, on a previous occasion, stated that only its headquarters had the authority to grant access to the BVAS for inspection.
Subsequently, when the LP’s team of forensic experts was granted access, only 65 out of over 5,000 BVAS machines were made available, and the team was denied access to inspect them.
Expressing concern over INEC’s actions, Ihejiagwa questioned why the electoral commission would hinder the litigation process when it should act solely as an umpire in the election. He highlighted that the tribunal’s order specifically included the BVAS and the LP’s access to it was crucial for a thorough forensic examination.
LP’s counsel, Athan Achonu, emphasized the importance of the tribunal’s order for a forensic examination of the BVAS machines to ensure that they remained untampered with before and after the election. Achonu criticized INEC’s non-compliance with the order but expressed confidence in the judiciary’s ability to administer justice.
It is noteworthy that INEC’s Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Emmanuella Ben-Opara, had confirmed on Tuesday that the requested materials for inspection were ready and awaiting examination.