INEC likens LP’s request to students demanding to be present when their teachers are determining examination questions.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected the Labour Party’s request to witness the configuration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines after the February 25 presidential election.
The commission argued that data back-up of the BVAS was an internal affair and not open to inspection by political parties.
The Labour Party had requested to witness the data-back processes of the machines after the Court of Appeal in Abuja granted INEC’s request to reconfigure them.
The Chief Spokesman for the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, had also argued that for the sake of transparency, INEC should “invite everybody with their technological experts to see what the commission intends to back up.”
He accused the commission of changing the rule of engagement, saying the electoral body “went to court for reconfiguration of the BVAS machines after Obi requested to inspect election materials”.
Reacting, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said political parties are not allowed to witness the configuration of the BVAS.
Oyekanmi likened the Labour Party’s request to students demanding to be present when their teachers are determining examination questions.
He said, “The reconfiguration or data back-up processes of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines is strictly an internal affair of the Independent National Electoral Commission, that no external eyes are allowed to witness.
“Of course, political parties are free to witness a test-run of the BVAS, and they did during the mock accreditation exercise that we carried out before the general elections.
“However, it is really, really curious that the Labour Party would express any desire to witness such an activity. What exactly do they want to see? Would the party also want to witness when ballot papers and result sheets are designed and printed?
“It is like students demanding to be present when their teachers are determining examination questions. While the commission appreciates and maintains a very cordial relationship with the Inter-Party Advisory Council, the boundaries are well defined and known to both parties”.
Oyekanmi added that it would take INEC three days to complete the reconfiguration of the machines.