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Server Saga: Many INEC Staffs Say Results Transmitted To ‘Central Server’ |The Republican News

Pic.14. INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu speaking during the formal opening of the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections Result Collation Centre, in Abuja on Sunday (24/2/19). 01726/24/2/2019/BJO/NAN

Ebuka Onyeji, Adejumo kabir and Alfred Olufemi

Several officials who said they were deployed as electoral officers by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 presidential election said they transmitted results electronically to a ‘central server’ through smart card readers.

This they said was done in compliance with the directive given by the commission during a three-day training before the polls.

The 20 officials deployed to various states, who mostly worked as presiding officers, said they were told that there was a “central server in Abuja” where results are collated electronically.

It is not immediately clear on which “central Server” the officials admitted to transmitting results but this has added a new twist to the ongoing confusion trailing INEC’s consistent denial that it used no server for the election.

A manual issued to the electoral officials by INEC for the 2019 election revealed that the “Communicate” icon on the Smart Card Reader should be used to transmit the accreditation data to the central server.

Another handbook for election officials in 2018 was however more précise on how presiding officers should use the card readers for electronic collation and transmission of results.

It said it became necessary to apply technology to transmit data and results from the polling units due to irregularities that take place after the voting process.

“After successfully filling the EC8A result sheet and announcing the result, the presiding officer shall tap the e-collation application on the home screen”, a part of the book read.

Backstory

The runner up in February’s presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the election tribunal.

Atiku Abubakar (Photo Credit: Channels TV)

Determining whether the commission operated a central computer database that received election results has become central to the dispute after Mr Abubakar said results obtained from the server proved he won the election with 1.6 million votes to defeat Mr Buhari.

But INEC has strongly denied the claim, saying it neither transmitted results electronically nor saved them on any server. It said such activities were not permitted by the electoral law yet. The commission also accused Mr Abubakar of circulating fake results.

CONTRADICTIONS

Following the controversy over the veracity of INEC’s position on not using a central database, PREMIUM TIMES randomly interviewed about twenty electoral officers who worked in various states during the election.

While most of them admitted to sending the results electronically using the internet enabled smart card readers as directed, the rest said they only sent the number of accredited voters and rejected votes, “to the central server”.

Some of the officials, who requested to speak anonymously for fear of victimisation, said they were instructed to turn in the card readers after sending the results.

“INEC asked us to paste the result sheet and also send them electronically through the card reader,” a serving corps member who worked as an ad-hoc staff at Ido Local Government of Oyo State said.

“The results, as we were told, were sent into a central server in Abuja. The results can’t be more than the accredited voters on the card reader. It will reject it… You can’t submit your card reader without posting the results.”

Gbenga Oladayo, an Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) in Ipetumodu area of Osun State, described INEC’s denial as ‘contrived’.

“They told us there’s a server that automatically records the number of accredited voters, cancelled votes and rejected voters.”

The APO2 for polling unit 023 at Maryland, Kosofe Local government in Lagos corroborated this.

“We did that as we were told during the training. I was shocked when I also saw the news that INEC claims that there is no server.”

‘How we handled results’

An ad-hoc staffer for PU8, Ode Ajibade Ward, Ilorin East Local Government, Ode Ajibade in Kwara State explained how they handled the results as instructed.

“We were instructed, in line with the guidelines, to record the results on form EC8A and paste at the polling unit and also transmit the result via the electronic card readers through the e-collation option, and this was communicated to us during training. The revision was done by ‘RAC TECH’ guys too.

PVCs Card reader
PVC Card Reader

“The challenge we had was bad network. However, we ended up transmitting the results via the electronic card readers when we got to the collation centre. You must send the results before submitting the card readers.”

When asked where the results were transmitted to, he said he believe ”it’s to the central server”.

“Not only were the results sent. Figures regarding accredited voters were also transmitted. I did all these as the PO, and I also had an APO (VP).”

Another ad-hoc staffer for PU10, Ologbenla ward, Ifetedo Local Government, Osun State gave a similar account.

But the Presiding Officer (PO) at PU002, Ward 8, Agege Local Government of Lagos State disputed this.

He said ”they were not directed to do anything with the result”.

Hitches

Others who spoke said they experienced hitches in sending the results to the “central server” due to network challenges.

Ayo Aderibigbe, the P.O for Kware Local government in Sokoto State said during the training, said, “We were told to press the ‘send’ button on the card reader after the voting and the counting has been done.”

“They told us it would automatically get to them. But on Election Day, it was not going through because of the poor network, and after trying for hours, we paid one of the INEC technical officers at the local government, Raphael. He promised to help us upload this to the server when it was less congested,” Mr Aderigbe, a corps member, said.

Another corps member, who was the P.O at PU 022 ward 2 of Jos South local government In Plateau State, had a similar experience.

“I could not sleep that night. The issues most people had was the network. The network was not responding.”

But Collins, a student of Obafemi Awolowo University on election duty at PU008 of Fajuyi hall, Ile-Ife in Osun State said the network was “okay”.

“At exactly 1:40 p.m. that day, we sent the necessary information that should be sent via the card reader. I was shocked by INEC’s denial.”

Conundrum of INEC laws

PREMIUM TIMES saw details of INEC’s budget for the 2019 elections, and the spending plan shows the electoral body collected N1.47 billion from the federal government for servers.

But a spokesperson for the commission, Festus Okoye, told this Newspaper that the budget for servers was made in anticipation that President Buhari would sign the amended Electoral Act to allow electronic transfer of voting results.

PRESIDENTBUHARI PRESIDES OVER VALEDICTORY SESSION: 0B. President Muhammadu Buhari during the valedictory for the Minister held at the Council Chambers State House Wednesday in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. MAY 22 2019

This medium reported how Mr Buhari refused to sign the Electoral Bill in letters to the leadership of the National Assembly last December. The president said signing such a bill few months to the general elections could disrupt the process, a position criticized by several Nigerians.

With the foregoing, our reporters further reviewed the duties of the electoral officials as prescribed by the electoral act and guide.

According to the electoral regulations and guidelines for 2019 elections, the presiding officers are duty bound to “transmit the result as prescribed in the Electoral Act”.

Section 65 of the Electoral Act specified how results should be submitted by the presiding officer but did not provide for electronic transmission of results and data.

However, a new section (65A) inserted in the amended electoral act seeks to mandate digital storage and archiving of election results by INEC at its national headquarters.

It is that amended electoral act that Mr Buhari refused to sign into law.

More questions than answers

In a response to INEC’s denial of the server and its purported result, Mr Abubakar submitted affidavits from 12 persons he said worked for INEC as election officials.

The officials reportedly admitted under oath that they transmitted results electronically.

A civil society group, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), said its observers saw polling officers ‘attempting’ to transmit results electronically in 65 per cent (961 of 1489) of polling units observed on the presidential Election Day.

After the postponement of the election by a week, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, also said the commission made provisions for a central collation server.

“…The fact is that I am aware that at the polling unit, the same result is there, the duplicate has been given to the party agents and transmitted to the central server. Without talking to me, both of you have the result” the official said during a Channels TV programme aired on February 18.

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Election Tribunal: Atiku Responds With A Message Of Hope, Promises To Fight For Justice Till The End |RN

PDP Presidentinal Candidate, Atiku Abubakar with his message of hope

By Ike A. Offor

The presidential candidate of the foremost strong opposition party, Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has given a message of hope following the outcome of the request made by PDP to access the INEC server.

Atiku in a two-minute video message expressed hope concerning the ongoing hearing by the presidential election tribunal. He told his supporters that he appreciates their assistance, and support. He also assured them of hope and the zeal to fight for justice on their behalf till the end.

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Buhari vs Atiku: We’ve Evidence INEC Procured, Installed, Deployed Servers In 36 States, Two Groups Claim

PIC.16. NEW INEC CHAIRMAN, PROF. MAHMOOD YAKUBU TAKING OATH BEFORE PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AT THE PRESIDENTIAL VILLA IN ABUJA ON MONDAY (9/11/15) 7076/09/11/2015/ICE/NAN

“Apart from the incontrovertible facts our IT and legal teams have in their possession, and ready to bring to the attention of the tribunal, I wish to present to you another evidence obtainable by FoI.”

A joint committee of information technology and legal experts has claimed to have incontrovertible evidence about Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) servers, installed in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

The groups, Deservation and Pukka Initiative, made the revelation in Yola, Thursday night, showing a document, that detailed how and when INEC server was allegedly installed and put to use.

Dr. Sani Adamu, who spoke for the two groups, said, “Apart from the incontrovertible facts our IT and legal teams have in their possession, and ready to bring to the attention of the tribunal, I wish to present to you another evidence obtainable by FoI.”

Quoting the INEC chairman, Prof. Yakub Mahmood, Adamu stated the electoral body’s chairman had publicly declared that “we are pioneering and deploying in 2019 general elections, a new platform for the electronic Collation and transmission of results of the 2019 elections”.

He, therefore, decried alleged moves by INEC to deny the availability of the server, stressing that the action is grave, just as it is a looming national disaster.

Countering the electoral umpire’s claims, Adamu referred to “INEC’s 2017-2021 strategic programme of action  document, page 5, serial number 1.4 and key action, titled ‘improve ICT operational deployment and utilization, including activities SN 1.4.1 to SN 1.4.57”, saying these series of activities “have captured all the essence of the server deployment by INEC”.

He insisted that all of the activities underscored the approval for a server and its subsequent implementation between the first quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2018.

“Specifically, based on activities SN 1.4.57 in the strategic programme of action 2017-2021, the INEC leadership have received the approval for the transmission of electronic results to the collation centres.

“In the same vein, SN 1.4.16 indicates that INEC has received the approval to procure servers for the 36 states and the FCT in the second quarter of 2017 and completed in the second quarter of 2018.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to tender a copy of the 2017-2021 strategic programme of action document, which dealt with issues of ICT including servers, card readers and the electronic transmission of election results,” he claimed.

He called on all Nigerians to join the campaign for INEC to own up and do the needful. “Because we are in a situation similar to the June 12 of Moshood Abiola,” he added.

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Atiku Targeted For Arrest Due To Insistence On Existence Of INEC Server —Spokesman, Paul Ibe

Presidential Candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, has raised alarm of plot to arrest him.

This was contained in a statement by his spokesman, Paul Ibe, on Sunday.

It said due to Atiku’s insistence of existence of a server used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), his enemies attributed a false comment on “mass protest” to him to prepare ground from his incarceration.

Ibe said: “I wish to emphatically state that such a statement did not emanate from Atiku Abubakar or his privies.

“It is the work of mischief makers who want to mar his spotless pro-democratic record and lay the ground work for their threatened actions against him on false charges of being a threat to national security.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Atiku Abubakar believes in the rule of law and in the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In his almost four decades in politics, he has never taken action or spoken words against democracy and will not start now.

“Atiku Abubakar and his team have confidence in God and thus call on those bent on mischief to have the fear of God and retrace their steps.

“Democracy has come to stay in Nigeria. The culture of fear being created now cannot rein in our democracy. Nigeria and Nigerians have a consistent history of outlasting tyranny and will continue to do so by the grace of God.”

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JUST IN: Atiku Abubakar Condemns Shut Down Of AIT, Warns Against Dictatorship |The Republican News

PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

The announced suspension of the practising license of DAAR communication by the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission, NBC, is generating reactions from well-meaning Nigerians who see the action of the NBC as a calculated attempt by the FG to gag the media.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the just-concluded presidential election, Atiku Abubakar has added his voice to the development. Atiku said he “received with trepidation reports of the withdrawal of the licenses of AIT and Ray Power owned by DAAR Group.

“The Gen. Buhari administration needs to be reminded that freedom of the press and of speech is not only fundamental to democracy, but it is also guaranteed by the constitution.

“Nothing untoward must be done to roll back our hard-earned democracy.”

Speaking via his twitter handle, Alhaji Atiku said “If at this time, we stand by as the Press loses its independence, there will be little to differentiate us from a dictatorship. This should not happen.

“I am a lifelong Democrat and throughout my political life, I have championed the principles of Separation of Powers. The Legislature has been challenged. The Judiciary has been tackled.” (Journalist101)

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Atiku Alerts Public Of Plots To Link Him To Stage-managed Killings, Wants Lai Arrested

PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
**Wants Lai Mohammed arrested for security breach

Olalekan Adetayo and Olusola Fabiyi

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, raised the alarm over alleged plan by some people to cause crisis in parts of the country and accuse him of being responsible for the skirmishes.

He said the plan, being spearheaded by “unscrupulous and anti-democratic elements,” for coming weeks, was aimed at smearing his personality.

Atiku made the allegation in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja by his media adviser, Paul Ibe.

He said the strategy was for some people to be apprehended for causing skirmishes and be made to mention Atiku and some members of the PDP as their sponsors.

The former Vice President also called for the arrest of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for his unsubstantiated allegation against him.

The statement read, “We wish to blow the whistle as an early warning alert of the grandiose scheme being put together by some unscrupulous elements aimed at jeopardising the reputation of His Excellency Atiku Abubakar in the coming days and weeks.

“By the merit of what is beginning to unfold, there are plans to create some upset across the country whereby alleged perpetrators of such crimes will engage in phantom dropping of name of Atiku Abubakar and some senior personalities in the Peoples Democratic Party.

“Already, we are abreast of some other plans to plant fictitious stories in some mushroom media outlets aimed at discrediting Atiku and his political party, the PDP.

“It therefore becomes preponderant that we alert the public to this demonic plan and to say that it will be imprudent to compromise the peace and security of Nigerians in order to score a cheap political goal.

“Towards this end, and for the umpteenth time, we call on the Federal Government to be awake to its responsibilities of providing security and ensuring peace, and to desist from actions and utterances that are capable of exposing our fault lines.

“It is very unsettling that senior administration officials, especially those who are the mouthpiece of government will make reckless but calculated comments to tarnish the image of Atiku Abubakar and government will sit idly on it.

“With the conclusion reached by relevant security outfits that there is no proof to back the claim by Lai Mohammed that the opposition was planning to upstage the government, we demand that the information minister should be arrested for a breach of security and an apology tendered to Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.”

In its reaction, the Federal Government said the former Vice-President should have nothing to fear.

It said only the guilty were always afraid.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohamed, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the matter, said he would not say more than that.

“On Atiku’s statement, I guess the former Vice-President must have been reading, in recent times, James Hadley Chase’s 1957 thriller entitled. ‘The Guilty are Afraid.’ That’s all I have to say.”

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Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa Recuse Self As Chairman Presidential Election Petition Tribunal

Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa

The President of Court Appeal,  Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has recused herself as the Chairman of 2019 Presidential Election Petition Tribunal hearing the petition against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari. Bulkachuwa voluntarily withdrew from participating in the hearing of the case shortly after the unanimous decision of the panel dismissing the application filed by the petitioner.

The ruling was delivered by a member of the panel, Justice Peter Ige.

She said that she took the decision for personal reasons and to avoid a situation where another female Justice will  face same issues presented to the court.

She said that the four man panel will continue with the case pending the announcement of the new chairman of the panel.

But the tribunal held that the petitioners have not placed enough materials of evidence before the court that the president of court of appeal will be biased in the matter.

The remaining four members of the panel have continued with case.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and it’s Pesidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar on 16th of may 2019 filed a motion asking an order to ensure that Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa be recused from further sitting of the tribunal or participating in the proceedings in the petition and be replaced by another Justice of the Appeal Court.

They also averred that Justice Bulakchuwa is the biological mother to Aliyu Haidar-Abubakar a prominent card-carrying member of the All Progressive Congress.

It further averred that being the wife and mother of prominent card-carrying members of the APC which is the third respondent in the petition before the tribunal, there is every likelihood of bias if Justice Bulkachuwa remains as a member of the panel.

They also asserted that at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal the president of the appeal court while delivering her speech said “elections are held in Nigeria every four years into elective positions, no matter how well the election is conducted there are bound to be complaints.”

Her decision to step down is seen as a test of transparency of the process.(Sahara Reporters)

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