Cybersecurity expert, others confronts INEC, Tinubu with loads of electoral materials in Obi’s petition
The Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, yesterday, presented a Cybersecurity expert, Dr. Chibuike Ugwoke, who confronted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with sensitive documents relating to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IRev), and other online information relating to the February 25 presidential election.
Besides, the court further admitted in evidence, a bundle of exhibits containing the total number of Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) that were collected in 32 states of the federation before the 2023 general elections in addition to a bundle of documents that contained the total number of registered voters in the states.
The exhibits were brought before the court by the petitioners who alleged that the presidential election that held on February 25, was rigged in favour of President Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
A senior counsel in Obi’s legal team, Peter Afuba, who conducted the tendering of the documents told the court that they were duly certified by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
But INEC through its lawyer, Mr. Kemi Pinhero, opposed the admissibility of the exhibits in evidence.
A similar position was taken by President Tinubu and the APC, who equally challenged the admission of the exhibits in evidence.
All the Respondents said they would adduce reasons behind their objections, in their final written address.
Regardless, the court admitted in evidence, documents on the total number of PVCs from the 32 states and marked them as exhibits PCN 1 to PCN 32.
Also admitted in evidence, was a certified true copy of a certificate of compliance on exhibits the petitioners earlier tendered in respect of Edo state.
Others electoral documents the court entered in evidence after they were tendered by the petitioners, were; certified copy of supplementary IReV reports for three Local Government Areas, LGAs, of Benue state, two LGAs of Cross River state, 12 LGAs of Lagos state, as well as one LGA in Gombe state.
In his evidence in chief, Dr. Chibuike Ugwoke, who appeared as the eight witness, PW-8, in the matter, told the court he is a a cyber security expert.
Led Mr. Patrick Ikweto, the subpoenaed witness told the court that the press release dated November 11, 2022, which was signed by INEC’s National Commissioner, Mr. Festus Okoye, was titled: “Alleged plot to abandon transmission of polling unit results to IReV portal.”
Ikweto told the court that the witness had in paragraph 26 of his statement on oath, referred to sources/materials that were published or used by INEC from 2018 to 2023, with their specific Uniform Resource Identifiers, (URIs) attached.
He equally tendered a report on what he termed as “meta data.”
All the respondents said they were opposed to the evidence of the witness and would give their reasons at a later stage of the case.
As part of their objections, counsel to the espondents told the court that they were served with statement of the witness, containing eight pages, shortly before the proceedings commenced.
Consequently, they urged the court to defer his cross-examination till Thursday to enable them to study his statement on oath which was admitted in evidence by the panel.
After the court gave the witness the nod to vacate the box and return on Thursday, the petitioners called their ninth witness, Mr. Onoja Sunday.
Sunday, who was led in evidence by Mr. Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, another member of Obi’s legal team, told the court that he is a staff of Women & Child Rescue Initiative, a non-governmental organisation.
He tendered both his statement on oath and his office identity card, which were both admitted in evidence.
Under cross-examination by counsel to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, the witness told the court that from his observations, voting and counting went well on the day the presidential election held.
Asked if his party won election in the polling unit where he observed, the witness, said; “I do not work for any party, neither do I have any candidate.”
Answering further questions from INEC’s counsel, the witness, said: “I did not work with BVAS in the polling unit and from my observation, the officials went away to the Ward collation center with the Form EC8A (polling unit result) that was signed by both the INEC officials and party agents.”
He, however, told counsel to President Tinubu, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala, that the subpoena upon which he appeared before the court, was not addressed to his organisation, but to him personally, using his village address.
In his own testimony, another witness, Mr. Kefas Iya (PW10), who identified himself as a civil servant, said he was subpoenaed to appear to give evidence before the court.
He told the court that he supervised about 24 units in his Ward at Madagali LGA in Adamawa State, alongside one Suleiman Mustapha.
He stated that: “Apart from a fracas that ensued between APC and PDP agents, there was no other issue except that of failure to transmit the election result.
“I did a good job and scores of the election were properly imputed in forms EC8As and the results were equally properly announced
“As a supervisor, it was not my duty to handle the BVAS machines,” he added.
While being cross-examined by President Tinubu’s lawyer, the witness, said he was not in court to testify on behalf of the INEC.
Further hearing on the petition has been adjourned till Thursday.