INEC Challenges Atiku, Obi’s Suit On BVAS
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked the Presidential Election Petition Court to vary the orders that were granted to the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, respectively, to inspect materials used for the last presidential election.
INEC, in a motion on notice filed on March 4, is praying the court to vary the order which restrained it from tampering with materials used for the election.
The commission said it needed to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the next round of elections.
The appellate court had on March 3 granted leave to Atiku and Obi to inspect election materials used by INEC in the conduct of the February 25 presidential election.
A panel of the appellate court led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh granted the permission following two separate ex parte applications filed by Atiku and Obi, who came second and third respectively in the presidential election won by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In the application filed by the commission and sighted by The Tide source, the commission is asking the court to vary the order to allow it to reconfigure its 176,846 BVAS for the March 11 governorship and state houses of assembly elections.
Our source reports that it is the sole prayer in the application of the electoral umpire filed at the court.
No date has however been fixed for hearing of the application.
According to a source, considering the number of BVAS required to conduct the election across the states, INEC needs to reconfigure the BVAS used for the February 25 elections and deploy them to polling units for the March 11 elections.
The source said that the technical team of the commission had to be deployed on time to start the reconfiguration of the devices, which had to be done one by one.
The official further said the order was pertinent as not getting it could result in the postponement of the Saturday governorship and state houses of assembly elections.
The credible source explained that the application became necessary following the order restraining INEC from tampering with the information embedded in the BVAS machines until the due inspection was conducted and Certified True Copies of them were issued, noting that the commission would require sufficient time to reconfigure the BVAS needed to conduct the polls.
The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Voter Education and Publicity, Festus Okoye, could not be reached for a reaction on Monday as he did not respond to several calls and the text message sent to him on the issue.
Meanwhile, the PDP has said the ruling of the Court of Appeal granting its presidential candidate permission to inspect election materials had yet to be complied with by the electoral commission.
A member of the National Working Committee of the party disclosed this to The Tide source on Monday.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the NWC member stated that part of the reason for the protest by the party chieftains on Monday was the refusal of the commission to obey the order of the appellate court.
“The legal team of the PDP has not commenced the process of inspecting the documents used for the election, not because it is not ready but because INEC has not granted the team access to the materials.
“It is too early to say that they have an ulterior motive but they can’t deny us of our right. They can only delay the process but they cannot stop the PDP.”
… Vote Buyers Attack EFCC Operatives In Kaduna
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says its operatives were attacked in Kaduna on Saturday during the governorship and state houses of assembly elections held across the country.
In a statement on Saturday by Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesperson, the commission said the operatives came under attack at School Road in Unguwan Rimi, Kaduna, while attempting to arrest a suspected vote buyer identified as Kabiru Musa.
Uwujaren said the suspect was seen in a video inducing voters by using his phone to transfer money into their accounts after they cast their votes.
“Immediately he was accosted by the operatives, Musa became unruly and screamed to attract the attention of his syndicate members, who descended on the operatives, using all manner of weapons that left some of them injured. It took great restraints for the operatives to ignore the unprovoked attack but insisted on arresting the suspect,” the statement reads.
“As the team drove away with the suspect, their vehicle was pelted with stones and other dangerous objects that damaged the windshield and three operatives suffered varying degrees of injuries in the process.
“The injured operatives are currently receiving medical attention at the Medical Centre of the Kaduna Zonal Command, while the suspect is in custody, pending conclusion of the investigation.
“It will be recalled that EFCC teams were similarly attacked during the presidential and national assembly elections, leaving some of its vehicles badly damaged.”
Reacting to the incident, Abdulrasheed Bawa, EFCC chairperson, commended the operatives for exercising restraint under extreme provocation.
He, however, appealed to the public to desist from attacking officers of the commission as it would no longer be tolerated.
Gov’ship/State Assembly Polls: EFCC Arrests 65 Suspects Over Vote Buying
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says its operatives arrested 65 persons across the country over alleged voter inducement.
EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, announced the development on Saturday in a statement on the commission’s monitoring activities of the governorship and state houses of assembly elections across the country.
He said 20 of the suspects were arrested in Kwara, while 13 suspects were arrested in Kaduna state.
He added that 12 suspects were arrested in Rivers; four each in Akwa Ibom and Cross River, while others were apprehended in Gombe, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Niger states.
“Those arrested in Kaduna State were 10 males and three females. They were apprehended by EFCC operatives either working on intelligence reports or were chanced upon during monitoring,” the statement read.
“A suspect allegedly involved in vote buying was nabbed at School Road, Unguwan Rimi in Kaduna. The suspect, who initially resisted arrest, is however in custody pending the conclusion of investigation.
“Also in Kaduna, a team arrested a suspect with voter coupons, which he confessed would be used to trace and pay those who voted for his party”, the statement added.
The EFCC also said its team monitoring voting around Local Education Authority School, Kabala Doki in Kaduna, arrested two suspects for vote buying, while the sum of N67,500, a list containing names of voters and bank account details were recovered from the suspects.
“Some of the items recovered from the suspects were voter cards, monies, lists containing names and account details of voters, and telephone recharge cards,” he added.
Alleged Party Name Omission, NNPP Candidate Threatens Suit Against INEC
Olufemi Ajadi, the governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in Ogun State, says the party will sue the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the “omission of the party’s name from ballot papers”.
Ajadi spoke with journalists on Saturday after casting his vote at Ofada, Obafemi Owode LGA of Ogun state.
The NNPP candidate said he was “disappointed” over the conduct of the governorship and house of assembly elections in the state.
Ajadi said the party had earlier written a letter to INEC to ensure the inclusion of his party’s name on the ballot paper, instead of only the logo.
“As you can see, we cannot see security everywhere. In my polling unit, where I cast my vote, the APC gathered hoodlums to attack me,” he said.
“I’m so disappointed in this country. I’m so disappointed about the leaders that we have. People can’t move around freely to the extent that they were dragging guns with my security. Can you imagine? No, this is not an election.
“On the ballot paper, I can’t see my party, the NNPP. After writing to INEC, to make amendment before the election and today is an election, we can’t find the name, only the logo.
“By the grace of God, we are going to court to challenge INEC on reasons why they failed to put our name on the ballot paper. I’m disappointed in INEC”, he lamented.
When The Tide source checked the list of political parties on INEC website, it was observed that the name of the party was not inscribed on the party’s logo.
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