The Labour Party in Imo State has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is denying it access to BVAS used for the November 11 governorship election in the state.
The party’s state chairman, Barr Callistus Ihejiagwa, stated this while addressing newsmen in Owerri, adding that the denial of access to the BVAS was in defiance of a November 26, 2023 order of the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Owerri.
The applications for inspection of the materials were submitted to INEC by the LP, PDP, YPP and APGA respectively.
According to him, INEC had denied availability of the BVAS for inspection, insisting that only the commission’s headquarters reserved the right to grant access to the BVAS for inspection.
He said that the commission however made available only 65 out of over 5,000 BVAS machines for inspection but denied the LP’s team of forensic experts access to the machines.
He wondered why INEC would “deliberately frustrate the process of litigation” in an election where it was only an umpire.
“Contrary to orders of the court for forensic analysis of BVAS machines, an INEC official is reading out figures of accreditation from the machines without allowing us access to certified true copies of the card copies for our own due diligence.
“We have less than 24 hours to examine the BVAS machines, assemble and present our findings to the Election Petition Tribunal but here we are still awaiting access to the machines.
“The tribunal ordered for forensic inspection of the BVAS so the BVAS is specifically contained in the tribunal order,” he stated.
Barr Okwudili Anozie, counsel to the LP governorship candidate, Sen Athan Achonu, emphasized that the tribunal’s order for forensic examination of the BVAS machines would help ensure that the machines have not been tampered with before and after the election.
He decried INEC’s disobedience to the order while restating the party’s confidence in the judiciary for the dispensation of justice.