How INEC Rigged The 2023 Presidential Election For Tinubu – Peter Obi
Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25 elections has told the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to either declare him (Mr Obi) the winner of the election or cancel the entire exercise outrightly because the Independent Electoral Commission corruptly manipulated the election in favour of Mr Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a petition filed Tuesday at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), Mr Obi told the court that the election of Tinubu was invalid by reason of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 by INEC.
He stated that due to the manifest non-compliance by INEC with the Electoral Act and specific requirements of the Regulations for the conduct of the Presidential election, the INEC failed, refusing, and neglecting to instantly transmit and upload the result of that election electronically to the iRev from the BVAS, INEC violated the integrity and safety measures entrenched for the conduct of the said election.
Obi lamented that due to INEC’s refusal and neglect to upload and transmit the result of the election in the polling units to the IReV as required by law on the day of the election, INEC suppressed the actual scores obtained by the Labour Party.
“The suppression of the Labour Party’s scores which occurred in Eighteen Thousand and Eighty=Eight (18,088) Polling Units was orchestrated by INEC deliberately uploading unreadable and blurred Forms EC8As on the IReV; and thereby, suppressed the lawful scores obtained by the Petitioners in the said Polling Units.”
Mr Obi and the Labour Party contend that during the conduct of the Presidential election, INEC was mandatorily required to prescribe and deploy technological devices for the accreditation, verification, confirmation and authentication of voters and their particulars as contained in the 1st Respondent’s Regulations.
“Pursuant to the powers conferred on it by the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act, 2022, INEC issued the “Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022”, and the Manual for Election Officials 2023.
“The said Regulations and Manual are binding on INEC and its staff with respect to the conduct of all elections, including the Presidential election being challenged in this Petition”, Obi stated.
INEC had assured Nigerians that for the 25th February 2023 Presidential election, the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the purpose of accreditation of voters is mandatory for the purpose of accreditation, verification, confirmation and authentication of voters.
In a Press Release issued by INEC and signed by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education for the 1st Respondent dated 11th November 2022, INEC stated that “The Commission has repeatedly reassured Nigerians that it will transmit results directly from the polling units as we witnessed in Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections and 103 more constituencies where off-cycle Governorship/FCT Area Council elections and by-elections were held since August 2020.
“The results can still be viewed on the portal. The iRev is one of the innovations introduced by the Commission to ensure the integrity and credibility of election results in Nigeria. It is therefore inconceivable that the Commission would tum around and undermine its own innovations. The public is advised to ignore the reports. The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and iRev have come to stay for voter accreditation and uploading of polling unit results in real-time in Nigeria.”
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, also repeatedly assured that at the conclusion of the election at each Polling Unit, the Presiding Officer was mandatorily required to electronically transmit or transfer the result of the Polling Unit directly to the INEC collation system. In addition, the Presiding Officer was also mandatorily required to use the BVAS to upload a scanned copy of Form EC8A to the INEC’s Result Viewing Portal (iRev) in real time.
“Where the BVAS failed to function in any polling unit, a new BVAS was to be deployed to ensure that the accreditation process conformed with the prescribed electoral process.
However, where the second BVAS also failed to function, the election in that polling unit was to be cancelled and another election shall be rescheduled within twenty-four (24) hours.”
But Mr Obi told the court that in manifest violation of INEC Regulations and the Electoral Act, 2022, the results of the Presidential Election held in the Polling Units were not fully uploaded on the iRev as at the time of the purported declaration of the 2nd Respondent as the winner of the Presidential Election, which gave room for manipulation of the said results by officials of the 1st Respondent.
Indeed, INEC “continued with the uploading of the results of the Presidential Election held on 25 February 2023 up till the time of filing this Petition and has continued to do so thereafter in manifest violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act and INEC Regulations”.
INEC “is obligated to compile and keep a Register of Election Results known as the National Electronic Register of Election Results (NERER) which shall be a distinct database or repository of Polling Unit results, including collated election results of each election. The Result Viewing Portal (iRev) is the immediate access by the public to the said electronic register of election results and is supposed to disclose the electronic version of the same result sheets distributed at the points of election and at the Collation Centres.”
Peter Obi lamented that despite several applications through his campaign organisation and Solicitors for certified true copies or the election documents and data relating to the Presidential election, INEC has denied him access.
“Similarly, INEC acting through its officials has refused to comply with Orders for inspection made by the Court, wherein Obi and the Labour Party were mandated to inspect and obtain certified copies etc of relevant election documents in the custody of INEC, in that:
a. INEC has denied having in its custody any Form EC8A or Form EC8B in Rivers State
b. In Bayelsa, INEC only provided certified copies of Form EC8A in Four of the Eight Local Government Areas of that State, while it provided Forms EC8B in only Seven Local Government Areas of the State.
c. INEC only provided certified copies of Forms EC8A, EC8B, EC8C and EC40G in Benue State while it blatantly refused to provide certified copies of those Forms in the remaining States.
Obi also stated that “INEC failed to record in the prescribed Forms the quantity, serial numbers and other particulars of result sheets, ballot papers and other sensitive electoral materials on the prescribed Forms EC25A, EC25A(i), EC8B and EC8B(i) – that is to say, Electoral Material Receipts for LGA, Electoral Material Distribution for RA, Electoral Material Receipts/Revised Logistics and Polling Unit Material Receipts/Distribution in respect of the States where Tinubu purportedly won.
Following the order of the Court for inspection, Obi said he applied, through their Campaign Organisation and Lawyers, for these Forms, but INEC “refused to give/issue those forms and refused to allow the inspection of the forms despite the order or Court.”
Peter Obi told the court that he has in his possession a Spread Sheet containing the Polling Units Codes and details of the aforesaid Eighteen Thousand and Eighty-Eight Polling Units, as well as the authentic results in the aforesaid Eighteen Thousand and Eighty Eight Polling Units.
He added that in Benue State, INEC “mischievously uploaded blurred Forms EC8A allegedly for Polling Units to suppress the lawful result of the election in the Polling Units. The Petitioners shall also at trial rely on a Forensic Report of the Presidential Election held in Polling Units in Benue State.”
In Rivers State during the collation exercise at the Federal level, INEC announced the scores of the Labour Party as 175,071 votes and the APC as having 231,591 votes. However, by the actual scores obtained at the polling units, Labour Party’s lawful votes in Rivers State are 205,110 votes, while APCs’ score ought to be 84,108 votes.
Obi further contend that if INEC had, as it was mandated to do, utilised the scores recorded on the Forms EC8A as against the fictitious Forms uploaded on the IReV, the Petitioners Obi would have won Rivers State.
Similarly, in Benne State, INEC whilst suppressing the lawful votes obtained by the Labour Party, announced that Labour Party scores from the polling units in Benue State are 308,372 votes. APC’s score was falsely announced as being 310,468 votes. However, the actual scores of the Labour Party from the polling units in Benne State was 329,003 votes, while APC scores were 300,421 votes.
‘By the unlawful announcement made by INEC, they denied me being the winner of the election in Benue State’, Obi told the court. He told the court has obtained a “forensic analysis of the election for Rivers State and Benue State made pursuant to the inspection of the election materials as ordered by the Court.”
Whilst purportedly acting under the cover of uploading the result of the Presidential Election held on 25th February 2023 on the iRev, INEC “embarked and are still embarking on massive misrepresentation and manipulation by uploading fictitious results in Polling Units where there were no elections as well as uploading incorrect results. The actual scores of the Petitioners have been reduced, tampered with, and falsely represented in the false election results uploaded in the iRev.”
Obi said he has a Forensic Report of the election result showing his actual scores obtained from the Polling Units and from the result of the election pursuant to the Inspection of the election materials as ordered by the Court.
The scores obtained by the Labour Party were unlawfully reduced and added by INEC to the scores of the APC. Further, INEC deliberately uploaded blurred results which were in favour of the Labour Party on the iRev in a bid to conceal them.
Obi asked the court to deduct these unlawful scores added to the APC and for those scores which were legitimately obtained by the Labour Party to be credited to the Labour Party’s scores. When the scores unlawfully added to the APC are deducted, the Labour Party will have the highest number of votes in the election, as shown in the Forensic Report.
“When the results of Polling Units, Wards, Local Governments, and States are properly tabulated and calculated as required by the Electoral Act and the Regulations and Guidelines for election, the overall results of the election and the percentages scored by the Political Parties will show that the Labour Party won the Presidential election of 25 February 2023.”
“From the correct Polling Unit result transmitted electronically and supported by the accreditation on the BVAS, the Labour Party won the election”, according to the Inspection Reports and Forensic/Expert analysis pursuant to the orders of the Court.
Obi also claimed that votes cast in the Poling Units in Ekiti State, Oyo State, Ondo State, Taraba State, Osun State, Kano State, Rivers State, Borno State, Katsina State, Kwara State, Gombe State, Yobe State and Niger State exceeded the number of voters accredited on the BVAS in those states.
“The computation and declaration of the result of the election, based on the uploaded results, the votes recorded for the APC did not comply with the legitimate process for computation of the result and disfavoured the Petitioners in RIVERS, LAGOS, TARABA, BENUE, ADAMAWA, IMO, BAUCHI, BORNO, KADUNA, PLATEAU and OTHER STATES OF THE FEDERATION.
In declaring the result of the election, INEC violated its own Regulations when it announced the result of the elections despite the fact that at the time of the said announcement or declaration, the totality of the Polling Unit results was yet to be fully scanned, uploaded and transmitted electronically as required by the Electoral Act, Obi said.
“The results and details are recorded in Forms EC8A. ECSB. EC8C. ECSD and ECSE which formed the basis of the declared result were not the product of compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC’s Regulations mandating the process of accreditation, voting, counting, recording of votes, and uploading to the INEC’s iRev Portal and the backend virtual server installed to ensure a uniform process.
Obi and the Labour Party further contend that when the purported scores recorded in the polling units where the above instances of over voting occurred are deducted from the alleged votes obtained by Bola Tinubu and on which INEC based the hurried declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the election, the margin of the purported lead between the APC and the Labour Party will be far less than the number of voters who ought to legitimately vote in those polling units.
Mr Obi stated that instances of over-voting in the conduct of the Presidential election held on 25th February 2023 occurred in more places than stated on Form EC40G(iii), according to the Report of the BYAS Accreditation in the polling units.
The above instances of non-compliance substantially affected the outcome of the election, in that if these instances did not occur in the conduct of the Presidential election, the labour Party would have emerged as the winner of the said election. Obi said.
Below are the Regulations for the conduct of the Presidential election which Obi claimed were violated by INEC.
By the Regulations, voting was to be in accordance with the Continuous Accreditation and Voting System (CAVS) and no person was to be allowed to vote at any Polling Unit other than the one at which his or her name was disclosed on the Register of Voters. The intending voter was then to present the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to INEC’s staff who was to verify. same using BVAS.
(i) Checking the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) of the voter;
(ii) Positive identification of the voter in the BVAS;
(iii) Authentication of the voter by matching his/her fingerprints or face (facial recognition) using the BVAS;
(iv) Positive identification of the voter in the Register of voters;
(v) Completion of Forms EC40H (1) – PWD Voter Information and Statistics; and
(vi) Applying indelible ink to the cuticle of the finger of the voter (where available).
By the said process of accreditation, the voter was to present himself to the Agent of the 1st Respondent who was to request the PVC of the voter. Where the voter had none, he was not to be allowed to vote; but if the voter had presented the said PVC, the Agent of the 1st Respondent was to proceed as follows:
(i) Call up the voter’s data on the BVAS by reading the bar code on the back of the PVC or reading the QR code against the name of the voter in the Register of Voters or entering the last six digits of the Voter Identification Number (VIN) of the voter into the BVAS or searching the BVAS with the surname of the voter;
(ii) On the appearance of the voters’ data on the BVAS, the APO l was to ascertain that the photograph on the PVC was that of the voter and that the Polling Unit details correspond with those of the Polling Unit;
(iii) Request the voter to place his/her thumb or any other finger (where possible) in the place provided on the BVAS for authentication or, if this failed, match the face of the voter to the picture in the BYAS using the device’s facial recognition facility; and
(iv) If the fingerprint or face of the voter matches, request the voter to proceed to APO II.
After complying with the procedure above, the verified voter was to be further scrutinized before proceeding to the process of actual voting. Where the BVAS for the polling unit failed to identify the intending voter, that voter was not be allowed to vote.
(a) In order to ensure that voting did not proceed except as specifically prescribed with the use of the BVAS, in the event of any malfunctioning of the BVAS for a polling unit, the INEC Agent was to:
(i) Immediately inform the LGA and RA supervisors, the Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO), the Electoral Officer (EO), and the Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC) for rcplacc111cnl:
(ii) Suspend Accreditation and Voting until a new BVAS was made:
(iii) file a report of the incident to the designated Official; and
(iv) Inform the voters and polling agents of the situation.
(b) Where a replacement BYAS was not available by 2:30pm, the Presiding Officer was to:
(i) Inform the LGA and RA Supervisors, SPO, EO, and EMSC of the situation.
(ii) File a report of the incident; and
(iii) Inform the voters and polling agents that accreditation and voting for the affected Polling Unit was to continue the following day.
(c) Where a BVAS was replaced in the middle of an election, the data of verified voters in the faulty BYAS was to be merged with data in the replacement B VAS for purposes of determining the number of verified voters.
After clue accreditation and casting of votes by the duly accredited voters, the Presiding Officer was to count the votes at the Polling Unit and enter the votes scored by each candidate in the Form prescribed by the 1st Respondent known as Form ECSA, which Form was then to be signed and stamped by the Presiding Officer and countersigned by the candidates or their Polling Agents where available at the Polling Unit.
The Presiding Officer was then to deliver copies of the result sheet to the party agents who desired to collect such copies as well as the Police Officer where available. Thereafter, the Polling Unit results for all the Polling Units within a Registration Area were to be delivered to the Registration Area Collation Officer who was to collate the results in the Form provided by the 1st Respondent. This process was to be repeated at all stages of collation, whereby the Ward Results were to be delivered to and collated by the Local Government Collation Officer, who was under a duty to accelerate the same to the final Constituency Collation Officer.
The Petitioners aver that, apart from the importance of the BVAS in the capture of accreditation at a polling unit in an election, the BV AS is also mandatorily to be used in the process of uploading the information or data imputed into it by the 1st Respondents’ Presiding Officer at each Polling Unit, who shall, upon completion of voting and due recording and announcement of the result:
(i) Electronically transmit or transfer the result of the Polling Unit directly to the collation system as prescribed by INEC;
(ii) Use the BVAS to upload a scanned copy of the Form ECSA to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (iRev), as prescribed by the I s1 Respondent; and
(iii) Take the BVAS and the original copy of each of the forms in a tamper-evident envelope to the Registration Area/Ward Collation Officer, in the company of Security Agents. The Polling Agents may accompany the Presiding Officer to the Registration Area/Ward Collation Centre.
Obi told the court that as part of the technological architecture for the conduct of the 2023 General Elections, including the Presidential election, INEC utilized virtual servers on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the hosting/storage of INEC’s data, particularly results obtained and or generated from the 2023 General Elections, including the election results of the Presidential Election held on 25th February 2023 on the Amazon Cloud Platform. The Petitioners may subpoena the relevant staff or officer of Amazon to establish this, and related facts pleaded in this Petition.
The Amazon Cloud Platform is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted platform which enables users such as large enterprises and government agencies like the 1si Respondent to effectively and in real-time manage data, to lower costs, become more agile and effective. The Petitioners hereby plead relevant pages on the website of Amazon which can be accessed at https://aws.amazon.com.
The INEC data captured and or generated during the 2023 Presidential Election held on 25th February 2023, and stored on the AWS data warehouse using cloud computing technology is accessible.
In addition to the above, the result of the Presidential Election held on 25th February 2023 displayed/stored on INEC’s Result Viewing Portal (iRcv) ought to be the same in all material particulars with the result of the election stored in the Virtual Servers on the AWS or the Amazon Cloud Platform.
Transmission of Results
INEC created various levels of collation at the Registration Areas, Local Government Areas, State Constituencies and the Federal Constituency; and by that process, the results of any election, including the one hereby challenged, were only to be accepted for collation if the Collation Officer ascertained that the number of accredited voters corresponded with the number captured in the BVAS and where votes for the parties corresponded with the result electronically transmitted directly from the Polling Units.
In the case of a dispute, the results electronically transmitted or transferred directly from the lower levels and announced were to be used to determine the results at that level of the Collation process. Where no result was directly transmitted in respect of a Polling Unit or a level of collation, it would not be possible to resolve that dispute. In this case, the Labour Party’s agents and agents of other political parties walked away in protest from the National Collation Centre when the Collation Officer blatantly refused to resolve their disputations of the results being collated as mandatorily stipulated by the Electoral Act, 2022. The Petitioners hereby plead a video clip of the incident as reported by some media houses.
Copies of the Forms EC8A scanned and uploaded through the BVAS to INEC’s Result Viewing Portal (iRev) as mandated by the INEC, were to exactly reflect all other results which originated from the Polling Units. Those which were instantaneously uploaded at the earliest moment ought to be the standard for assessing other results subsequently advanced by the 1st Respondent in the process of Collation leading to the final segment which was the declaration of the result of the election.
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