The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that its decision to postpone the March 11 elections to March 18 was to ensure adequate time to back up the data stored on over 176,000 BVAS devices used for the February 25 polls and then reconfigure them for the governorship and state assembly polls.
Chairman of the information and voter education committee for INEC Festus Okoye made this known in a statement on Wednesday night.
Okoye said that following Wednesday’s ruling by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on the reconfiguration of the BVAS used for the presidential election, INEC met to assess its impact on the commission’s preparations for the state elections scheduled for March 11.
He said, “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 March 18.”
Okoye said that campaigns would continue until midnight on Thursday, March 16.
“This decision has not been taken lightly but it is necessary to ensure that there is adequate time to back up the data stored on the over 176,000 BVAS machines from the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on Feb. 25 and then to reconfigure them for the Governorship and State Assembly elections.
“This has been the practice for all elections, including the period when the Commission was using the Smart Card Readers,” he asserted.
Okoye reiterated that INEC was not against litigants inspecting election materials.
He assured all political parties and candidates that the data from the presidential and National Assembly elections would be backed up and available in INEC cloud facilities, including the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).