Political parties can’t regulate INEC over BVAS, top official fumes
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has slammed political parties intruding into its affairs to dictate on how it should operate on the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS.
Mr Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, made this known during Channels TV’s Politics Today on Sunday evening.
Okoye stressed that it is the INEC’s function to regulate the affairs of the political parties and not vice versa. The electoral umpire’s top official made this remark in a reaction to the Labour Party’s faulting the idea of reconfiguring BVAS after its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, sought to examine the election materials.
LP also faulted the commission’s claim of backing up the data retrieved from the BVAS without the presence of independent witnesses and agents of political parties.
Vanguard reported last week that the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja granted the INEC’s request to reconfigure the BVAS that was used for the presidential poll.
Speaking on the matter, Okoye maintained that the request by the LP to monitor the commission’s process of reconfiguring and backing up results on its BVAS devices would not be granted.
Okoye said, “On the issue of a political party saying they want to come and look at our cloud, IReV or into the brain of the BIVAS, the commission will not allow that to happen.
“Every political party that deploys polling agents has a copy of the polling units level results and if a political party now says they want to come into the commission to look at the same thing their agents have already, we won’t allow that to happen because the laws do not allow that.
“Look, the commission is the regulator of political parties and the political parties cannot, just because of so many things taking place, come around and wants to regulate the commission. The commission will now allow that to happen.”
He also added that parties and individuals planning to register their grievances through peaceful protest over the conduct of February 25, 2023 presidential poll will be welcome at the commission’s headquarters.
“In terms of the issue of protest, the commission is a public trust. And as far as the commission is concerned, any Nigerian who has any grievance has the constitutional and legal right to come to the commission to protest.
“The commission will not prevent any individual or group of individuals, any political party or association not to protest because the commission is a public trust and a public institution and we cannot prevent anybody from coming to protest,” he added.