Tribunal: “INEC Uploaded Picture Of A Book Instead Of Results” – Witness Tells Court

A cyber security expert, Dr. Chibuike Ugwoke, on Thursday, alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, uploaded the picture of a book on its results viewing portal, IReV, instead of results of the presidential election that held on February 25.

INFORMATION NIGERIA reports that Ugwoke appeared before the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja as the eighth witness in a case filed by Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s candidate, aiming to overturn President Bola Tinubu’s election.

It was gathered that Ugwoke began his testimony on Wednesday, his cross-examination was postponed to Thursday, giving respondents time to review his statement.

Along with INEC, President Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the All Progressives Congress were among the respondents in the case.

Answering questions under cross-examination, Dr. Ugwoke, said he conducted analysis on INEC’s ICT infrastructure which he termed as “Meta Data”.

He told the court that the Meta Data, described the actual information in the system.

The witness said he used 12 polling units in three states- Bauchi, Anambra and Rivers state- as focal points of his analysis, adding that he equally made reference to Benue state in his report that was tendered before the court.

He told the court that the petitioners approached him on March 10 to analyse what INEC uploaded to its IReV portal after the presidential election.

“Though I initially sent a preliminary report which was more like an overview, around March 1, I later wrote an elaborate report in the middle of May,” he stated.

The witness, however, admitted that he read Obi’s petition as well as replies by the respondents, before he wrote his final report that was tendered in evidence.

“I read the replies some time in the middle of my work, that was before the final report was made.”

He told the court that his analysis revealed that INEC officials made incorrect inputs into the IReV portal, using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines.

Asked if he knew the identities of those that made the incorrect inputs, the witness, said: “I don’t know who made the uploads, but it was from the BVAS and the number is there.”

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He said though he did not in the course of his assignment, interrogate any INEC official, “but I interrogated the INEC manual.”

Asked if he contacted the Labour Party to give him what should have been the actual results from the polling units, the witness, said: “No my lords, I did not”.

“In one of the instances, the picture of a book was uploaded instead of election results.

“I interrogated the Amazon Web Services, AWS, that was how I got to know because the information was there in the server,” he insisted.

He told the court that out of 176, 846 polling units in the country, he chose only 12 of them based “on my proof of consent.”

On claim by INEC that technical glitches hampered the electronic transmission of results, the witness, told the court that such errors in technology could be detected at the time of testing of an application before its deployment.

He said: “Errors arise at the time of testing, but after deployment, the probability for an error to arise may be very negligible. However, it is not impossible for error to arise after deployment.

“I used three states to show that it is possible to display the meta data in the IReV portal.

“I proved that there were errors and I did not have to examine the Forms EC8As, physically, to reach my conclusion.”

Asked if he could tell that results from polling units in the states he analysed, were properly collated, the witness, said: “That was not for me to prove, I only presented the facts.”

The Justice Tsammani-led panel adjourned further hearing on the matter till Friday to enable the Respondents to cross-examine the witness.