Labour Party (LP) has raised the alarm over the refusal of the Yakub Mahmood-led leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow LP lawyers to inspect materials on the BVAS and IREV used for the February 25 presidential election.
National Chairman of LP, Julius Abure, in a phone conversation, told Daily Independent that this was despite a decision by the Presidential election tribunal sitting in the Appeal Court, which mandated INEC to do so.
Earlier, Labour Party had faulted the request by the electoral umpire, on the tribunal, to permit it to reconfigure the BVAS that was used for the presidential poll.
The court had, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of Justices, dismissed the objection by the LP and held that preventing the electoral umpire from reconfiguring the BVAS would adversely affect the forthcoming governorship and state Assembly elections.
The Appeal Court also refused to grant the LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi, an application to scan and make copies of the election materials from INEC ‘s database.
The three-member panel held that granting the order would hamper the elections earlier slated for Saturday, 11 March.
The Justice Joseph Ikyegh-led panel faulted Obi and the Labour Party (LP) for repeating their request to be allowed to scan and make copies of the electoral materials in INEC’s possession.
The court held that granting the order will amount to preventing it from carrying out the functions assigned to it by the 1999 constitution.
The court ordered INEC on March 3 to allow the leading three political parties (LP, PDP, APC) to inspect and conduct a digital forensic examination on all electoral materials used in the conduct of the elections.
The Tribunal also asked INEC to avail the applicants of the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the result of the physical inspection of the BVAS.
According to the Election Petition Tribunal, the request was earlier granted, even as it scolded the petitioners against repeating the prayer, saying that it amounted to an abuse of the court process.
INEC had insisted that the reconfiguration of the BVAS was necessary since they would be deployed for the next round of elections on Saturday.
It emphasised that without a prompt variation of the order the court earlier granted to Obi and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, especially the aspect restraining it from tampering with the information contained in the BVAS.