Why INEC Shifted Governorship, State Assembly Elections To March 18

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that its decision to postpone Saturday, March 11th, Governorship and State Assembly elections to March 18, 2023, was due to insufficient time to reconfigure the Bimordal Verification and Authentication BVAS Machines, before the March 11 elections, as the order to grant permission to the Commission to reconfigure the BVAS machines, was only given on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, just three days before the Governorship and States House of Assembly elections.

This clarification was contained in a Press Statement signed by Barr. Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, which noted that the postponement was due to the commission’s inability to promptly commence reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines utilized during the February 25 presidential election to enable their use in the state elections.

INEC further pointed out that the ex-parte motion granted to political parties by the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal EPT, to inspect materials used for the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections, including the forensic inspection of over 176, 000 BVAS machines located in INEC Local Government offices across the country, without a specific time frame for the inspection, has disrupted it’s election timetable to conduct outstanding elections, since the machines are supposed to be be programmed for activation on the specific date of the next election, which will now be possible, only after the inspections by the parties have been concluded, hopefully within the one week extension period.

The Commission then noted that while it is not against the inspections of materials by litigants, it will however continue to make the materials available to political parties on demand as they pursue their litigations in Court, even as it reassured political parties and candidates, that all the materials from the presidential and national assembly elections have been backed up on its cloud facilities and will be available on the INEC Results Viewing Portal, IReV.

The statement equally urged political parties to apply for the certified true copies of the backend data from the BVAS and while confirming that the original results from BVAS will continue to be available on IReV portal for interested persons to access, thanked Nigerians and friends of Nigeria for their understanding as it continues to deal with these difficult issues and navigate these challenging times.

The Press Release is published below:

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