The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of deploying a third-party device to intercept and switch the results of the presidential election in favor of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.
Atiku made the allegation in a 66-page petition he lodged before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
In the petition marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, Atiku and the PDP listed INEC as 1st respondent, APC as 2nd respondent, and Tinubu as 3rd respondent.
He further alleged that INEC had, prior to the election, redeployed its in-house ICT expert, Chidi Nwafor, and replaced him with an IT consultant, Suleiman Farouk, that helped it to install the third-party mechanism.
Atiku claimed that Farouk ensured that the device intermediated between the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the IRev Portal, known as Device Management System (DMS).
He told the court that the DMS was the software that allowed Farouk to remotely control, monitor and filter data that was transmitted from the BVAS devices to the electronic collation system and the IRev platform.
Atiku maintained that INEC, having set the parameters of the poll, did not ensure compliance with the electronic transmission of accreditation data and results in the Election to create an opportunity for manipulation of figures to the advantage of Tinubu and the APC.
The PDP flagbearer said he will during the hearing of the petition, lead evidence to show that there were no technical glitches that prevented the upload and transmission of the polling units results and the accreditation date of the presidential election to the electronic collation system and the IReV portal.
Atiku and the PDP alleged that what happened was “the non-adherence to the system through a command and control element activated by a pre-programmed design to limit user-privileges of the front-end users of the BVAS machines at the polling units with respect to presidential election results while releasing user privileges in respect of the National Assembly election windows, by selectively withholding correct passwords and/or issuing wrong passwords through the use of the Device Management System equipment aforesaid.”
Arguing that there was no failure of the server as claimed by INEC, the petitioners said they would adduce evidence to show that the “server” being cloud-based, in the event of any unlikely challenge, Amazon Web Service would have seamlessly switched to another server without hitch, being autoscaling groups with multiple network reception and offline upload options.
Atiku and the PDP said they would subpoena to appear before the court to testify the likes of PWC, expert witnesses in respect of the electronic collation system and the IReV portal, as well as Kaspersky Endpoint Security (of Thornhill Office Park, Bekker Road, Midrand, South Africa), which provided the system security for the BVAS and e-transmission system deployed by INEC and Globacom Nigeria Limited, the internet provider for the system deployed by the Commission.
Tinubu Wrongfully Declared Winner
Atiku and his party argued that as of March 1 when Tinubu was declared the winner of the election, the entire results and accreditation data from polling units had not been transmitted and uploaded by INEC.
On another leg of the petition, Atiku argued that Tinubu did not secure at least one-quarter of the votes cast in the presidential election in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
He stressed that out of the total votes of 478,652 cast in the FCT, Abuja, Tinubu, was ascribed only 90,902 (18.99%) of the votes.
The petition read in part, “The Petitioners shall contend that to be declared duly elected, a candidate, in addition to obtaining not less than a quarter (25%) of the votes cast in at least two-thirds of all the States, must also receive at least one quarter (25%) of the votes cast in the FCT, Abuja, this being an additional requirement introduced by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the said Constitution having clearly distinguished the FCT, Abuja as a separate entity by the specific and express mention”.
“The Petitioners further aver that all over Nigeria there were manifest cases of over-voting. The total of the affected polling units in the various States are set out in the Statisticians Report pleaded and relied upon by the Petitioners”.
Atiku and the PDP, among other things, asked the court to hold that Tinubu was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast in the election and therefore the declaration and his return by INEC as the winner of the Presidential Election was unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, undue, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
Atiku Be Declared Winner
In the alternative, the petitioners want the court to declare that Atiku, having scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the presidential election, be returned as the winner of the said election and be sworn in as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
They also want the tribunal to issue an order directing the INEC to conduct a second election (run-off) between the 1st Petitioner (Atiku) and the 2nd Respondent (Tinubu)
In their further alternative prayer, the petitioners urged the court to nullify the presidential election and order a re-run.