Following persistent pressures, the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) on Tuesday, granted access to all the political parties to inspect materials used during the February 25, 2023 Presidential election, across the country.
The Commission on Tuesday had an enlarged meeting with representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP) after which the PDP and APC joined the LP on inspection of the materials.
Tanimu Inuwa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), speaking on behalf of INEC at the meeting informed the party officials that INEC currently has forms Ec8d (summary of results) of each state and FCT, Ec8da (national summary) and Ec8a.
He also said that the Commission was finalising the BVAS and backend report of over 11,000 pages, which will be distributed to the parties.
Speaking on modalities, he stated that the result sheets and ballot papers are in the various states not at the Headquarters, and suggested that a timeline for visitation for all parties should be made for ease and the persons appointed to inspect should be limited.
He however, assured the parties that CTCs and photocopies of the document will be made available.
Joe-Kyari Gadzama, representing Atiku Abubakar and PDP stated that immediate commencement of inspection was a matter of urgency given the timeline.
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He stated that a letter to INEC has been written and served, stating that the documents were urgently needed. “We are available on a daily basis to conduct the inspection,” he said.
He said that the representatives of PDP in various states have gone to the INEC offices for inspection but they were denied access due to the fact that the headquarters has not given the go ahead.
Gadzama said the PDP in addition to the documents already requested will need the report of the offline and online logs and server from 25th Feb and 1st March 2023 and the phone numbers used on each BVAS.
Babatunde Ogala, who is representing the APC, suggested that all parties should henceforth inspect the documents together in the spirit of transparency, adding that “a joint committee of all parties should be made to come up with a schedule for the inspection.”
Livy Uzochukwu, representing LP stated that LP and PDP petitioned while APC is responding. Hence the timelines are different and Petitioners should be treated with priority.
He pointed out that they had already started inspection on Monday, and that the party will continue inspection on daily basis.
Uzochukwu who noted that every party’s case is different, added that “as such we are likely not looking for the same things. He concluded by stating that it would be a National calamity if a petition is not filed because of lack of documents.
Joe-Kyari Gadzama, while noting that the LP and PDP have a lot in common, added that “we have more challenges than APC.”
He stated that by the order of the Court, INEC is to provide the documents requested for inspection, adding “that limiting the number of people allowed to inspect is not realistic because of the burden placed on the petitioners.”
He demanded that a message be sent to the INEC in various states to allow inspection.
At the conclusion of the meeting, it was resolved that PDP and APC can commence inspection immediately while LP having started inspection will continue from where they left off.