The Peoples Democratic Party has raised the alarm that the Independent National Electoral Commission is making moves to prevent the party from obtaining evidence from the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System through obtaining a court order.
The court order, the PDP said, would reconfigure the BVAS so that the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, would not have what is required for prosecuting its case at the presidential election tribunal.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday night at the party headquarters in Abuja, the National Publucity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, stated that, “late on Monday at 10:10 PM, INEC in a move to prevent our party and candidate from obtaining necessary evidence as ordered by the Court, filed a motion requesting that it be allowed to reconfigure the BVAS machines and wipe off relevant information that our party and candidate require to prosecute our case at the presidential election tribunal.”
Ologunagba added that the action of INEC was reprehensible and meant to frustrate the desire of Nigerians to get redress through the court.
He pointed out that “it is a clear recipe for crisis and a deliberate design by the commission to derail our democracy and trigger anarchy in the country.”
INEC had announced the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, returned president-elect from the Saturday, February 25, 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections which the PDP earlier rejected the results.
The spokesperson for the PDP further maintained that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, superintended over the alleged manipulation of the results of the presidential election and hurriedly announced a winner in spite of widespread outcry and complaints over numerous evidence of malpractices and violation of several provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 by INEC and its officials.
He also said the INEC chairman bypassed all the steps and procedures provided by the Electoral Act, 2022 for the declaration of results, including to announce and declare only results that were transmitted directly from the Polling Units to the INEC server/website and to review the results in the event of disputes and objections as to the correctness and consistency of the collated result.
The PDP spokesman also pointed out that, “Instead of being guided by the law, the INEC chairman brazenly announced and declared results that were not transmitted directly from the Polling Units to INEC’s server/website while ignoring the objections and complaints raised during the collation in complete disregard to the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“Despite the provocative act of the INEC chairman, the PDP, as a law-abiding party, approached the court and obtained an order directing INEC to, among other things, grant our party and candidate unrestrained access to carry out a forensic examination of the ballot papers, data forms, BVAS/and or card readers and all other necessary information, material and evidence to get redress for Nigerians at the Election Tribunal.
“Apparently panicked by the order, INEC rushed to court to file a motion requesting the court to allow it reconfigure the BVAS devices with the view to erasing the information contained therein.
He further observed that in the motion, INEC admitted that the BVAS application stores the accreditation data for all voters accredited on the device for the presidential, senatorial and House of Representatives elections conducted on February 25, 2023 and that the reconfiguration of the BVAS devices entailed purging the accreditation data on the BVAS devices.
He maintained that the action by INEC was vexatious, provocative and only pointed to the impunity and culpability of the Commission with regard to the reported manipulations and alteration of results to deny its party and its candidate their victory at the presidential election.
According to him, INEC’s action further validates the fact that their party and presidential candidate won the February 25, 2023 presidential election, based on the actual votes cast at the polling units.
He further questioned: “If INEC has nothing to hide, why was it in a hurry to declare manipulated results without recourse to the provisions of the Electoral Act and without consideration of the disputes, objections and complaints raised by Parties during the collation process?”
He reiterated the party’s commitment to continue to pursue the matter in accordance with the law.