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Election Tribunal: INEC Uploaded Book Picture Instead of Election Results- Witness

According to Dr. Ugwoke, his analysis revealed that incorrect inputs were made into the IReV portal using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines.

By Musa Ibrahim:

Dr. Chibuike Ugwoke, a cyber security expert, made an allegation on Thursday that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) mistakenly uploaded the picture of a book instead of the results of the presidential election held on February 25. Dr. Ugwoke testified as the eighth witness (PW-8) in the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja. The case was filed by Mr. Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), seeking to nullify President Bola Tinubu’s election. The cross-examination of Dr. Ugwoke was deferred by the court due to the Respondents’ request for time to study his statement. On Thursday, he was recalled to the witness box, where he was questioned by all the Respondents, including INEC, President Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

During cross-examination, Dr. Ugwoke explained that he analyzed INEC’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure, specifically focusing on the “Meta Data” which described the actual information in the system. His analysis was based on 12 polling units in Bauchi, Anambra, Rivers, and Benue states. The petitioners approached him on March 10 to analyze the information uploaded to INEC’s IReV portal after the presidential election. Dr. Ugwoke submitted a preliminary report on March 1, followed by a comprehensive report in mid-May, after reading Obi’s petition and the replies by the Respondents.

According to Dr. Ugwoke, his analysis revealed that incorrect inputs were made into the IReV portal using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines. He clarified that he didn’t know the identities of the individuals responsible for the incorrect uploads, but he discovered the information through his interrogation of the Amazon Web Services (AWS), which revealed the presence of the book image in the server.

When questioned about technical glitches affecting the electronic transmission of results, Dr. Ugwoke stated that such errors could be detected during application testing before deployment. He presented his analysis to demonstrate the presence of errors in the IReV portal without physically examining the Forms EC8As.

Regarding the electronic collating system mentioned in an INEC press statement on the use of BVAS, Dr. Ugwoke inferred from the last paragraph that the results would be electronically collated. However, he admitted to not physically inspecting the BVAS machines or interviewing Mr. Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner who signed the press statement.

Dr. Ugwoke clarified that he was not aware of specific election results in Bauchi and Anambra states, as his role was solely focused on the subject matter for which he was engaged. He emphasized that his report contained links to the original results from the IReV portal, and he did not personally meet or interview any INEC officials before writing the report.

Furthermore, Dr. Ugwoke mentioned that ISO certification was a statutory requirement for organizations like INEC under the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Act.

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