The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of installing a third-party device allegedly used to intercept and switch results of the February 25 presidential election in favor of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In a 66-page petition filed before the Presidential Election Petition Court at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, the former vice president claimed that prior to the election, INEC redeployed its in-house Information Communications Technology (ICT) expert, Chidi Nwafor, and replaced him with an Information Technology (IT) Consultant who assisted in the installation of the third-party mechanism.
In the petition marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, Atiku
and the PDP listed INEC as the first respondent, APC as the second respondent, and Tinubu as the third respondent.
According to Atiku, the said IT Consultant, Suleiman Farouk, ensured that the device, known as the Device Management System, was intermediated between the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) Portal (DMS).
He testified in court that the DMS was the software that allowed Farouk, INEC’s IT Security Consultant, to remotely control, monitor, and filter data transmitted from the BVAS devices to the electronic collation system and the IReV platform.
“For the purpose of the Election, the 1st Respondent hired a 2nd Respondent appointee to manage and oversee the 1st Respondent’s sensitive ICT Department.”
“The petitioners contend and will present evidence to support their claims.”
show that, contrary to the BVAS machine’s original design to upload data directly to the electronic collation system and the IReV portal, the 1st Respondent devised and installed an intervening third-party device (Device Management System) that, in its normal usage, is meant to secure and administer the 1st Respondent’s technological ecosystem for the elections, but was used to intercept the results, quarantine, and warehousing
“The first respondent used the aforementioned Device Management System to skew the election results in favor of the second and third respondents.”
“The petitioners assert and shall present expert evidence to demonstrate the critical components of the 1st Respondent’s Information and
ICT, including but not limited to the BVAS, an Android device manufactured by Emperor Technologies China and supplied to the 1st Respondent by Activate Nigeria Limited.
“The Voter Accreditation System, VAS, which is the software used on the BVAS, was previously designed and configured in-house and installed on the BVAS by the 1st Respondent’s ICT Team, led by Mr. Chidi Nwafor.”
“The VAS was then handed over to Emperor Technology China prior to the Presidential Election, and they preconfigured and installed the software on the BVAS before supplying the devices to the first respondent via Activate Nigeria Limited.”
“In terms of the IReV, the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) is a web-based data entry and viewing portal.”
Chidi Nwafor’s team also designed the aggregation portal, which is hosted on Amazon Web Service, AWS.
“The device and portal’s server system is hosted on Amazon Web Service (AWS) at the URL:dashboard.ivasportal.com/dash,” he added.
However, Atiku, who finished second in the presidential election, maintained that INEC, after establishing the parameters, “did not ensure compliance with the electronic transmission of accreditation data and results in the election to create opportunity for manipulation of figures to the benefit of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents.”
The petitioners stated that they would present evidence during the petition hearing to demonstrate that there were no technical glitches that prevented the upload and transmission of polling unit results and accreditation data for the presidential election to The IReV portal and an electronic collation system.
Furthermore, they claimed that what occurred 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 Delegated Power of Attorney.”