Atiku Abubakar accuses INEC of using third-party device to manipulate presidential election

Atiku Abubakar accuses INEC of using third-party device to manipulate presidential election

Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria, has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rigged the presidential election held on February 25, 2019, in favor of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Bola Tinubu. In a 66-page petition filed before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja, Atiku accused INEC of deploying a third-party device to intercept and switch the results of the election. He also claimed that INEC had redeployed its in-house ICT expert, Mr Chidi Nwafor, and replaced him with an IT Consultant who helped install the third-party mechanism.

According to Atiku, the IT Consultant, Mr Suleiman Farouk, installed the Device Management System (DMS), which was used to intercept the results, quarantine and warehouse them, and filter them before releasing them to the IReV portal. The DMS was intermediated between the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the IRev Portal.

Atiku Abubakar claimed that INEC used the DMS to manipulate the election results in favour of the APC and its candidate. He alleged that the BVAS was an Android Device manufactured by Emperor Technologies China and supplied to INEC by Activate Nigeria Limited. The Voter Accreditation System (VAS) software used on the BVAS was previously designed and configured in-house and installed on the BVAS by the ICT Team of the 1st Respondent headed by Mr. Chidi Nwafor.

Atiku further alleged that INEC did not ensure compliance with the electronic transmission of accreditation data and results in the election to create an opportunity for the manipulation of figures to the advantage of the APC and its candidate. He claimed that during the hearing of the petition, he and his party would lead evidence to show that there were no technical glitches that prevented the upload and transmission of the polling unit results and the accreditation data of the presidential election to the electronic collation system and the IReV portal.

Atiku’s petition also alleged that the non-adherence to the system was due to 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.

The allegations by Atiku are serious and have raised questions about the credibility of the electoral process in Nigeria. The PEPC must ensure that the hearing of the petition is conducted fairly and transparently, and that all parties are given equal opportunities to present their evidence. The outcome of the case will have significant implications for Nigeria’s democracy, and it is essential that the Nigerian people have confidence in the electoral process and the institutions responsible for conducting elections.

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