The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has postponed the Governorship and State Assembly elections from 11th to 18 of March, 2023.
A statement signed by the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, indicated that the postponement followed Wednesday’s ruling by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (EPT) on the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used for the Presidential election held on 25th of Febraury.
“Nigerians would recall that on 3rd March 2023, the Presidential EPT had given an ex-parte order for some political parties to inspect materials used for the Presidential election, including the forensic inspection of over 176,000 BVAS used in the election which are located in INEC LGA offices across the country”.
”The Commission approached the Tribunal to reconsider the order, given that the BVAS Systems were to be deployed for the Governorship and State Assembly elections and that the lack of a clearly defined timeframe for the inspection could disrupt the Commission’s ability to conduct the outstanding elections.” the statement read in part.
It further explained that, while the ruling of the Tribunal makes it possible for the Commission to commence the preparation of the BVAS for the Governorship and State Assembly elections, it came far too late for the reconfiguration to be concluded.
“It is necessary to ensure that there is adequate time to back up the data stored on the over 176,000 BVAS machines from the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on 25th of last month and then to reconfigure them for the Governorship and State Assembly elections. This has been the practice for all elections.”
It however, reiterate that the Commission will continue to grant all litigants access to the materials they require to pursue their cases in court”, the statement adds.
The Commission also reassured all political parties and candidates that the data from the Presidential and National Assembly elections will be backed up and available in INEC cloud facilities, including the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
It added that Political parties can apply for Certified True Copies of the backend data of the BVAS and the results on the BVAS will continue to be available on the IReV for interested parties to access.
It directs the Political Parties to continue with campaigns until midnight of Thursday 16th of this month; that is 24 hours before the new date for the election.
Writing by Ogochukwu Okoronkwo; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu