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Atiku, PDP Withdraw Suit Seeking Permission To Monitor BVAS Reconfiguration 

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25 election, Atiku Abubakar, has withdrew two separate motions filed before the Election Petition court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja, against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his party,  the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The first motion (on notice) marked CA/PEC/13m/2023 sought the leave of the court to observe the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines being carried out by INEC officials.

The second motion (exparte) was filed on March 14 and sought for an order from the court to serve court documents on Tinubu and APC by substituted means, that is, to serve their papers on their staff or paste it on their premises.

Specifically, Atiku had in the withdrawn application, which he predicated on 11 grounds, maintained that it was necessary for agents of his party to be present during the sorting out of the electoral materials he would need to prepare a petition he intends to lodge against the outcome of the presidential election.

He said there was need for his agents to observe/participate in the sorting of materials he requested in all the offices of INEC nationwide, in line with the ex-parte order the court made on March 3.

The tribunal had in the said order, directed INEC to allow the Applicants, Atiku and PDP, to inspect, scan, and carry out forensic examination and analysis of the ballot papers, data form, BVAS/and or card readers, including photocopying of the ballot papers, information stored in the computer server/IREV.

Atiku argued that allowing the agents of his party to be on the ground while the materials are sorted out, would ensure transparency in the process and guarantee that the ballot papers would not be tampered with.

But in a proceedings on Wednesday, PDP’s counsel, Chief Ifeanyi Iboko, said he filed a notice of discontinuance, thereby withdrawing those motions on the grounds that they had been overtaken by events.

Idoko said the intent of the motion was aimed at observing the reconfiguration of BVAS by INEC but that since the court had already granted the electoral umpire permission to go ahead with reconfiguration, “we felt there was no need continue the motions.”

“We filed the application owing to challenges and administrative bottlenecks we encountered at the INEC office when we went for access to the election materials as ordered by the court.

“However, before the application dated March 13 could be slated for hearing, INEC, on its own, called our legal team for a meeting.

“It was at that meeting which held yesterday (Tuesday) that all the grey areas were sorted out, with INEC, pledging to allow our agents to observe the process of sorting out some of the electoral materials we requested for, especially the ballot papers.

“Since that was primarily our prayer in the fresh application we filed, we felt that it would not be necessary to proceed with the hearing. So, to save judicial time, we filed a notice of discontinuance which was accordingly granted”, a member of Atiku

Meanwhile, following the withdrawal of the application, Justice Joseph Ikyegh-led three-member panel struck it out.

“Motion exparte having been withdrawn is hereby struck out”, the Court ruled.



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