The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of installing a third-party device to intercept and switch results of the February 25 presidential election in favour of his counterpart, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Atiku alleged that INEC had, prior to the election, redeployed its in-house ICT expert, Mr. Chidi Nwafor, and replaced him with an IT consultant that helped it to install the third-party mechanism.
The former vice president said IT consultant, Suleiman Farouk, ensured that the device intermediated between the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the IRev Portal, known as Device Management System (DMS).
He made the claim in a 66-paged petition he lodged before the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
The PDP candidate told the court that the DMS was the software that allowed INEC’s IT security consultant, Farouk, to remotely control, monitor and filter data that was transmitted from the BVAS devices to the electronic collation system and the IRev platform.
“The 1st respondent (INEC) engaged an appointee of the 2nd respondent to man and oversee the sensitive ICT Department of the 1st respondent for the purpose of the election.
“The petitioners contend, and shall lead evidence to show, that contrary to the original design of the BVAS machine to upload data directly to the electronic collation system and the IReV portal, the 1st respondent contrived and installed an intervening third-party device (Device Management System) which, in its ordinary usage, is meant to secure and administer the 1st respondent’s technological ecosystem for the elections but, as it relates to the presidential election, was used to intercept the results, quarantine and warehouse same, and filter them before releasing same to the IReV Portal.
“The 1st respondent used the said Device Management System to manipulate the election results in favour of the 2nd and 3rd respondents.
“The petitioners state, and shall lead expert evidence to show, the critical components of the 1st respondent’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT), including but not limited to the BVAS, which is 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 that is 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.
“The VAS was subsequently handed over to Emperor Technology China prior to the presidential election and they then preconfigured and installed the software on the BVAS before supplying the devices to the 1st respondent through Activate Nigeria Limited.
“As it relates to the IReV, the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) is a web-based data entry and aggregation portal designed also by Chidi Nwafor’s team and is hosted on Amazon Web Service (AWS).
“The server system for the device and the portal are hosted on Amazon Web Service (AWS) URL:dashboard.ivasportal.com/dash”, he added.
In the petition Atiku filed alongside his party, PDP, he 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 opportunity for manipulation of figures to the advantage of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents”.
The petitioners alleged that there were no technical glitches that prevented the upload and transmission of the polling units results and the accreditation data of the presidential election to the electronic collation system and the IReV portal.
According to Atiku and PDP, 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.
“The Petitioners contend that the technology system deployed by the 1st Respondent underwent Quality Assurance Tests (“QAT”) before acquisition and deployment.
“The 1st Respondent is hereby given the notice to produce the QAT Report that was prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) as well as the Report of Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing (VAPT) by Consultant Suleiman Farouk of Sulfman Consulting Limited and all other subsequent and related reports on the system.
“The Petitioners contend that the so-called “glitch” was a bypass to tilt and switch the results of the Presidential Election in favour of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents”, they added.