Five ad-hoc staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, have been okayed to testify as special witnesses in the petition that a former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, filed to challenge the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
The INEC ad-hoc staff members, who participated in the conduct of the disputed presidential election, were subpoenaed to appear before the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC.
Atiku, who came second in the presidential contest that held on February 25, had in the joint petition he filed with his party, alleged that the election was rigged in favour of President Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The former Vice President, in his 66-paged petition, accused the electoral Commission of installing a third-party device he said was used to intercept and switch results of the presidential election in favour of the APCand its candidate, Bola Tinubu.
He further alleged that INEC had prior to the election, redeployed its in-house ICT expert, Mr. Chidi Nwafor, and replaced him with an IT Consultant that helped it to install the third-party mechanism.
According to Atiku, the said IT Consultant, Mr. Suleiman Farouk, ensured that the device intermediated between the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the IRev Portal, known as Device Management System (DMS).
He told the court that the DMS was the software that allowed INEC’s IT Security Consultant, Mr. Farouk, to remotely control, monitor and filter data that was transmitted from the BVAS devices to the electronic collation system and the IRev platform.
Consequently, at the resumed proceedings in the petition on Wednesday, lead counsel for the petitioners, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, told the court that his clients had subpoenaed five INEC ad-hoc staff members that were part of the conduct of the election to appear as witnesses and to also tender sensitive materials in evidence.
He added that out of the five witnesses, three of them were in court.