. . . Reveals how INEC Spent N27bn on ICT, Server
By Ikeugonna Eleke
The Presidential Election Petition Panel Friday, July 19, heard how the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, confirmed the existence of the controversial server use by the commission in the 2019 presidential election.
Former Minister of Aviation and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Collation Agent, Chief Osita Chidoka, while being led in evidence, as PDP star witness by counsel to the party, Chief Chris Uche, affirmed how the INEC Chairman confirmed to him and other stakeholders of the existence of a server for the purposes of the election.
He told the tribunal how a whopping N27 billion was spent by INEC on Information Communication Technology (ICT) system which included the server; where several INEC officers who had earlier appeared as witnesses testified that results of the presidential elections were uploaded to the server.
The tribunal had earlier watched a video of interviews by INEC top officials, including an INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini, confirming the existence of the central server and transmission of results to it.
However, given that the server is a software and the insistence that it was exclusively domiciled with INEC, the former Aviation Minister, upon cross-examination by INEC Counsel, Yunus Usman, SAN, admitted that he did not see the server but maintained that it existed.
Chidoka claimed that the accreditation of voters with card reader was deliberately avoided in some parts of the country to give room for over-voting.
The witness under further cross examination stated that he was conversant with all INEC guidelines, manuals and the Electoral Act, and that he recorded infractions against the PDP and its Presidential Candidate from the PDP situation room where he was in touch with all the PDP agents across the country throughout the duration of the presidential election.
Being the deponent of the documents and exhibits filed by the PDP, Chidoka further pointed out to the tribunal, polling units where infractions were committed against the PDP, as well as where results were allegedly manipulated in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
With Chidoka’s testimony, former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, closed his case at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal after calling 62 witnesses out of the 400 earlier penciled down to give oral testimony in an effort to prove that Abubakar won the 2019 presidential election.
The former VP is challenging the outcome of the February 23, presidential election on the grounds that the result of the election was manipulated to favour President Muhammad Buhari of the APC.
Buhari was declared the winner of the election with 15,191,847 votes, while Abubakar, his closest challenger, polled 11,262,978 votes; according to the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission.