The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the Governorship and States House of Assembly elections earlier scheduled for Saturday, March 11, 2023, to Saturday, March 18.
The reason for the postponement was disclosed in a statement on Wednesday signed by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voters Education Committee, Festus Okoye.
According to INEC, the postponement has to do with the court case on the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used for the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections for use at the state elections.
The Commission said that even though it got a favourable judgement at the Appeal Court, the decision came “too late”.
“While the ruling of the Tribunal makes it possible for the Commission to commence the preparation of the BVAS for the Governorship and State Assembly elections, it has come far too late for the reconfiguration to be concluded.
“Consequently, the Commission has taken the difficult but necessary decision to reschedule the Governorship and State Assembly elections which will now take place on Saturday 18th , March 2023,” INEC said.
INEC urged parties to continue their campaigns until Thursday, March 16, 24 hours before the election.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, had earlier on Wednesday granted the request INEC to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used for the February 25, Presidential and National Assembly election.
In a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of justices, the Court held that not granting the request would endanger the electoral body in the conduct of the March 11 governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
The Court agreed with INEC that information on accreditation contained in the BVAS devices had been uploaded into its backup server and could be accessed at any time.
The Appellate Court predicated its agreement with INEC on the ground that all averments in the counter affidavit of the Electoral body were not challenged.
The INEC filed the application after the Court granted the request by Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be allowed to physically inspect all the BVAS machines used for the poll.
Obi and Atiku, who are challenging the result declared by INEC, want to retrieve data from the BVAS that represented the actual results from polling locations.