By Edith Nwapi
The Appeal court on Wednesday refused to grant Mr Peter Obi’s application scan and make copies of the election materials from INEC ‘s database.
The three-member panel held that granting the order sought by obi will hamper the elections slated for Saturday.
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 tying down the hands of the electoral body and preventing it from carrying out the functions assigned to it by the 1999 constitution
The court ordered INEC on March 3 to allow the applicants to inspect and carry out digital forensic examination of all the electoral materials used in the conduct of the elections.
Also to avail them the Certified True Copy, CTC, of result of the physical inspection of the BVAS.
The panel held that the request was earlier granted, adding that repeating the prayer amounted to an abuse of 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.
The commission added 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 information contained in the BVAS.
It would be difficult for it to proceed with the scheduled elections INEC added.
Obi and his party had in their application marked: CA/PEC/09m/23, sought permission to be allowed to conduct physical inspection of all the BVAS that were used for the presidential poll.
The applicants, through their team of lawyers led by Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, said the essence of the application was to enable them to extract data embedded in the BVAS, “which represent the actual results from Polling Units.”
They specifically applied for; “leave to carryout digital forensic and physical inspection of BVAS, among others ”, as well as to obtain the Certified True Copy, CTC, of all the data in the BVAS.”
While opposing the application, INEC through its lawyer, Tanimu Inuwa, SAN told the court that there were a total of 176,000 BVAS that were deployed to polling units during the presidential election.
“Each polling unit has its own particular BVAS machine which will need to be reconfigured for the forthcoming elections.
“It will be very difficult for us, within the period, to reconfigure the 176, 000 BVAS.
“We have already stated in our affidavit that no information in the BVAS will be lost.
“We need the BVAS reconfigured.
” So, granting this application will be a cog in the process and may delay the conduct of the elections” Inuwa pleaded.