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Amid outrage, NBA defends position on poll, says lapses left for court’s decision

Despite criticism, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Maikyua, has defended his position on the February 25 presidential Election

Amid outrage

Despite criticism, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Maikyua, has defended his position on the February 25 presidential and National Assembly election.

Justifying his position that the election was credible, Maikyua said the impact of lapses and challenges recorded during the polls after pronouncement of results can now only be determined by the courts.

He acknowledged that there were challenges experienced by the electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the last poll, but insisted that since the election results had been declared, it was now left for the court to identify and pronounce the impact of the lapses.

In a statement yesterday, addressed to members of the bar, the NBA president urged INEC to identify issues from the February 25 election and the lessons drawn therefrom, with a view to addressing same in Saturday’s governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.

Maikyua also called on INEC to ensure that election materials are dispatched on time to the Polling Units so that the accreditation process will commence early.

According to him, this will ensure that registered voters are given opportunity to exercise their right to vote without being unduly disenfranchised.

He further urged INEC to ensure that all bugs or glitches in the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines and other election technology are fixed and improved ahead of Saturday.

Meanwhile, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has withdrawn his application for court’s permission to observe the reconfiguration of BVAS machines by INEC.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja, which is the Presidential Election Petition Court, had on March 8, permitted INEC to go ahead with the reconfiguration of the BVAS used in the conduct of the February 25 poll.

The appellate court, led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh, cleared the coast for INEC to reconfigure the BVAS machines to be deployed in the rescheduled March 18 governorship and state Assemblies elections, following assurances that the BVAS information on the presidential polls will be safely stored in an accredited backend Server.

INEC had approached the court to vary its earlier order permitting Atiku and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, to inspect election materials including the BVAS machines used for the presidential election. They had anchored the request on the grounds that the same BVAS machines will be deployed in the governorship and state Assemblies election, adding that unless the court’s order is varied to enable the reconfiguration, the elections would not go as earlier scheduled.

Shortly after the permission was granted, INEC had announced a shift of the governorship and state Assemblies polls from March 11 to March 18, due to the reconfiguration of the BVAS machines.

Atiku and his party, the PDP, had in a motion on notice filed on March 13 and marked CA/PEC/13m/2023, requested permission from the appellate court to observe the reconfiguration of the BVAS machines. They had also filed another motion ex-parte praying for an order to serve court documents on the All Progressives Congress (APC) and winner of the presidential election, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, by substituted means.

However, when the matter was called yesterday, a lawyer who represented Atiku and the PDP, Ifeanyi Iboko, drew the appellate court’s attention to a notice of discontinuance filed in respect of the two cases.

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