The Labour Party in Imo has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of disobedience to a court order by allegedly denying them access to BVAS used for the November 11 Governorship Election.
The Labour Party Chairman in Imo State, Mr Callistus Ihejiagwa, said this to newsmen in Owerri on Friday.
He said 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.
He noted that the party is among four political parties, including PDP, YPP and APGA, which submitted their applications for inspection of the materials to the INEC, adding that the forensic inspection of election materials including the BVAS is contained in the order of the Tribunal.
According to him, INEC had on Wednesday, 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.
He said: “Contrary to orders of 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”.
According to him, the party has 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.
He said: “The Tribunal ordered for forensic inspection of the BVAS so the BVAS is specifically contained in the Tribunal order.”
Also speaking, Mr 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 to ensure that the machines are not 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.
It would be recalled that INEC’S Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Mrs Emmanuella Ben-Opara had, on Tuesday, confirmed that the materials requested for inspection were all ready and waiting to be inspected by political parties.
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