By Ifeanyi Izeze
It all started when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on February 27, 2019, declared that President Mohammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the last presidential election with 15,191, 847 votes to beat Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 11, 262, 978 votes.
Both Atiku and the PDP in their 139-page petition to the Tribunal to challenge Buhari’s declared victory claimed that “from the data in the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) server…the true, actual and correct results from state to state computation” showed that Atiku polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari who scored 16, 741, 430 votes.
In a swift response to the PDP claims, Festus Keyamo, the APC spokesperson said “The law or the Electoral Act does not allow you to bring (transmit) results by server. No room for electronic transmission at all. All results were collated and transmitted manually.”
This same APC and its mouthpiece, Keyamo in less than 24 hours made a complete u-turn and instead turned around to accuse Atiku and PDP of illegal access through hacking to the INEC backend database server. True to the threat of bringing in the security agencies, a petition was submitted to the Nigerian Police and the DSS by the APC asking for the outright arrest of unspecified PDP leaders.
Now, does it occur to APC that their response thus far, obviously gives the impression of a panicky bunch? If the result shown by PDP is fake, why border as you are convinced INEC will not post fake election results on its backend database.
The real issue is not having direct electronic access to INEC’s server. You can know what should be in there, if you know what was fed in there. Don’t forget also that election results are not secret documents; it is in the hands of party agents. Supposing PDP and its leaders have the collated results State by State, that was fed into the server? If the actual total differs from what INEC announced, should anybody sit down and still argue that the electoral umpire does not have some serious questions to answer?
Just see how this Keyamo guy has been beating about the bush! He claimed that the PDP hacked INEC’s server, and then in the other breath, he posited that the products of the hacking returned fake results! If the product of the hacking, as he claims, is fake, then why is Keyamo getting overly worried and thrashing like fish out of water? You have already claimed that the product of the hacking will not be admissible in court. So why not sit back and watch how the court will handle this.
Okay, remember that products of hacking have materials that worked against Hillary Clinton and could even result in indicting her in a court of law should interested parties take her to court. Place that scenario side-by-side with what is agitating Keyamo’s mind in this allegedly hacked materials and you will see and understand why the APC/Keyamo has become so worried about this development.
You may claim that the means of obtaining information is ‘illegal’ but you cannot just discard the information so gathered. So if you claim that the PDP got what you might call ‘classified’ information illegally, know that such ‘classified’ information, could contain information regarding the ‘illegality’ the INEC and the APC produced and dished to the Nigerian people. And, from the contents seen so far, it could be well concluded that the INEC and APC conspired (an illegality) to cheat the PDP of its merited win in that presidential election. And this is Keyamo’s worry for sure!
Nigerians are yet to hear INEC say its backend data server was breached. So, where is APC getting their facts from or is the INEC computer server located in Buhari’s or Keyamo’s bedroom or inside the Presidential Villa? Is APC now responsible for overseeing the INEC backend database server?
Keyamo has deliberately been jumping the gun and this is very unbecoming of a senior advocate of Nigeria. The Police or DSS cannot act on evidence before the court without being directed by the court. Keyamo is a SAN and he should have known better.
The server results were addressed to the Tribunal and not to APC or Buhari campaign group. He should allow the Tribunal handle the case without interference. Actually, he should be arrested for contempt of court for commenting on a case and data before the Tribunal. It is the responsibility of the Tribunal to scrutinize the submitted data, and if need be as to its source and genuineness. Did the court not give the complainants permission to examine everything used for the election? So, why is Keyamo/APC afraid?
Keyamo should not waste his time making ridiculous claims that expose his ignorance of systems/data security. It is easy to determine whether the presidential election data on the INEC server were inputted by intruders or were inputted by INEC officials as received from the almost 120,000 polling units across Nigeria. Blaming PDP and Atiku is nothing but an outright expression of disabled mindsets.
As said by a well ‘learned’ Nigerian, “It is even more appalling that Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a member of Buhari’s legal team, who should know better, would engage in this act of subjudice designed to distort facts already known to Nigerians, that results announced does not tally with the actual cast at the presidential poll.
It should occur to Keyamo that the claims by his APC are an attempt at blackmailing the Tribunal by engaging in clear acts of subjudice.
Now, for election APC claimed they won, they ought to have filed their defence at the Tribunal and be eager to defend it but up till now, that has not been done. Why are they more concerned with the hacking of INEC server and source (s) of figures pbeing presented by the opposition rather than going to the tribunal to submit and defend their evidence of winning the election?
Is APC the body that conducted the election or were they the ones that announced the results? It should be INEC to raise such concerns because they alone know how secretive or open they made available the information. They are to defend the figures which they announced and how they got it. All we have been hearing had been INEC servers not APC servers, so shouldn’t the INEC be the one reporting PDP if the agency suspects any breach of its data security?
Wide and far, we’ve never seen a government in Nigeria that is lacking intelligence and coherence like this one. These people don’t know that Atiku/PDP claiming to have access to contents similar to server details must not mean they hacked into it. The materials fed into the INEC server, do they exist anywhere? Yes they do in hard copies! The easiest claim by the PDP is simply to present either the hard copies of the materials and/or ask INEC to explain to the Tribunal how it got the figures of the election results it announced and the ones fed into its backend database. At that moment, the naivety of Keyamo and his APC will be blown open for ridicule. God bless Nigeria!!
IFEANYI IZEZE: 234-8033043009; [email protected]