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Election Tribunal: Peter Obi Brings Software Engineer As Witness

Mr. Anthony Chinwo, a Software Engineer, appeared before the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, in Abuja on Thursday. He testified as the second witness for the petitioner, Mr. Peter Obi, who filed a case challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.

During cross-examination, Chinwo, who also identified himself as an Architect, stated that he did not play a significant role in the election. However, he acknowledged that Amazon Web Services (AWS) used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the general elections was a highly trusted provider of Cloud Computer Services, known for its 99.9% security assurance. He emphasized that while deployment of AWS is one aspect, utilizing it effectively is another.

When asked about the source of his information and analysis of the election, Chinwo explained that he used publicly available INEC Application Programming Interface (API) to gather data on the election over time. He maintained that INEC should have uploaded data to its server, starting from the polling unit level.

Chinwo clarified that he was neither able to vote on the election day nor an employee of Amazon. He also admitted that as a non-INEC staff member, he couldn’t provide the exact number of software used by INEC for the 2023 election.

Following Chinwo’s testimony, the court admitted four INEC’s Forms EC40G from Bayelsa state, which Obi tendered through his legal team. These forms are summaries of registered voters at polling units where elections did not take place. The court marked them as Exhibits EG 1 to EG 4, despite opposition from all the Respondents, who reserved their reasons for the final written address.

The 1st to 4th Respondents in the petition are INEC, the President-elect Bola Tinubu, the Vice-President-elect Kashim Shettima, and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The court adjourned further proceedings until Friday after hearing an application filed by Obi and the LP, seeking permission to question INEC about the technology used in the general elections. The Respondents requested the court to dismiss the application as it was filed outside the pre-hearing period.

The petitioners, on the other hand, argued that INEC should be compelled to answer specific questions in light of its reply to their petition. These questions include the date of the functionality test conducted on the improved system used for the elections and details of those involved in the test. The petitioners also sought answers regarding the technical glitches that prevented the e-transmission of the presidential election results and the percentage of results uploaded on the I-Rev platform at various times.

The petitioners considered these questions crucial to their case against President Tinubu’s election victory.

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