By Camillus Eboh
ABUJA (Reuters) – A Nigerian judge on Wednesday refused a request by one opposition candidate who lost last month’s presidential election to stop the electoral body from reconfiguring a voting system for state elections on Saturday.
Opposition challenger Peter Obi of the Labour Party said a reconfiguration will destroy the evidence for his case after he lost the presidential election to the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, Bola Tinubu.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) asked the court for an order to reconfigure its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) that uses fingerprints and facial recognition which was previously used for the presidential vote for governorship election on March 11.
Obi and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party have said the result of the presidential election was fraudulent and vowed to challenge it in court.
Justice Haruna Tsamani refused the request of the Labour Party and Obi, saying “it will amount to tying (INEC’s) hands from performing their duties.”
Nigerians will return to the polls on Saturday to elect state governors across the country, two weeks after the disputed presidential election, with the main focus on the race to lead Lagos, the country’s wealthiest state.
Election observers from the European Union, the Commonwealth and other bodies reported a range of problems during voting and counting, including failures in systems designed to prevent vote manipulation.
In Nigeria, elections are generally challenged at the Appeals Court, which sits as a tribunal.
There have been numerous legal challenges to the outcome of past Nigerian presidential elections but none has succeeded.
(Reporting by Camillus Eboh in Abuja; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Matthew Lewis)