2019 Election: APC Battles PDP Over Alleged Hacking Of INEC Server

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

More facts have emerged why the Presidency and the leadership of the All Progressive Congress, APC, appear to be worried over the  petition written by  Atiku Abubakar, the Turaki Adamawa and the Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP against the party and, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over the conduct of the February 23, 2019 election to the three-man Presidential electiion tribunal set up by Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN. 

Note that prior to the petition, Atiku had approached the tribunal to grant him access to inspect the electoral materials used for the election. Initially, Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state and National Chairman of the party had made a joke out of the Atiku’s approad to the tribunal by saying that that the party would also approach the Tribunal to protest the rigging of the election by the PDP.

Unknown  to him the PDP Candidate and the party have much documentary evidence to prove that the  2019 Presidential election was charcterised by intimidation, violence and rigging in different parts of the country, an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari, who contested on the platform of the ruling APC, never won the election  as declared and issued the certificate of return by INEC.

Abudulsalami Abubakar, a retired Army General and former Head of state, and who incidentally, is the Chairman of the National Peace Committee, may have known that the legal battle between Atiku and Buhari,  over the disputed election may take a turn for the worse for the APC, and thus had piled up pressure on the PDP Candidate to withdraw the case from tribunal and allow peace to reign. The PDP Candidate had turned it down, insisting on  heading to tribunal. The PDP Candidate  may have been emboldened in the recent time to pursue the matter to its logical conclusion because of  a recent Statement credited to Rochas Okrocha, incumbent governor of Imo state, who may have been abandoned by the party over his  failed Senatorial ambition, that he would not go down alone, promising to expose the APC and how it won the election.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and National leader, of APC and incidentally, alternate Chairman, of the APC Presidential Campaign Council appear to have known that  there is trouble ahead  for the party as he had mobilised the other Presidential Campaign Council members to go back to the drawing board to counter the PDP plot to rubbish the party at the Tribunal and the law Court. This is because of the enormous facts and figures at their disposal about the last Presidential election which could only be obtained in INEC server with the  active connivance of an insider.

This may have prompted the APC  presidential Council to write to Ibrahim Abubakar Adamu, acting Inspector general of the Police, IGP, and Magaji  Bichi, the Director general, Department of State Security, DSS, to investigate Opposition PDP, over its alleged access to the server  of INEC.  The petition, dated March 25, 2019, and signed by Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and the party Director of Strategic Communications averred that the PDP, may have hacked into the INEC server to obtain the documents. Keyamo, may have used his legal weight to join forces with other members of the party PCO, to urge the acting IGP and DSS boss, to use their ”good offices to investigate the hacking and illegal tampering with INC server by the PDP”.

Atiku Abubakar: Presidential Candidate, PDP

Recall that  in his Petition to the tribunal, the PDP multi-billionaire Candidate ,  had stated that  the figures  by which the electoral umpire  declared, the Katsina state born Nigerian President  as winner of the February 23, 2019, Presidential election was faulty.  He had alluded in the petition to the tribunal  that from the data  in INEC’s server  between him and Buhari, the APC, Standard Bearer, the true  and correct results upon a state to state computation , put him on the lead. He was  said to have availed  to the Tribunal  computations from the states, which according to reports by Channels Television showed that  he polled 18,356,732 votes as against Buhari’s 16,741,430 votes. The possession of this election results data, describe as  ”fake”, by the APC, may have strengthened the resolve of the APC PCO, to go to any length to unravel how the PDP penetrate the ranks of INEC to secure such alleged sensitive documents.

An angry Keyamo, believes that the Opposition PDP may have ”prepared those results  which were to be be smuggled  into the INEC server”,  noting that the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly election by one additional week, ”scuttled  that evil plan, but it was too late  to restrain  the release of the fake results”. 

Tlegal luminary maintained that  that the proper election was  on February 23, 2019, and Buhari declared the winner. He maintained that the only way the party could have gained access  to the INEC server  is by ”criminal hacking  of the server or through the criminal conspiracy of some INEC officials”. The questions on the lips of most people was: if the APC believes that figures at the disposal of the Opposition PDP about the last Presidential election was fake, why bother to use the security agencies personnel to harass and intimidate the party leadership to submission?

The argument in both official and unofficial sources was that the APC leadership are ”jittery over what may come out of the Tribunal when the parties meet. A Statement by the party said President Buhari is overweighed  by the burden of illegitimacy”. The party  stated that the claims by the APC that it hacked the INEC server to obtain the facts and figures about the election  was an attempt  at blackmailing  the Tribunal by engaging in clear acts of subjudice. The party insists that” there is nothing that is at its disposal  that is not within public domain ”.  Br resorting to shadow boxing  outside  the tribunal , Buhari and the APC, the party said have shown that ”they have no defence  to present  to the Court  against the the PDP’S submission  that the  ruling APC stole their mandate.

Even before the Presidential election was held, the APC, Candidate during the electioneering Campaigns  had told the electorate to vote for Candidates of their choice, insisting that he win the election as there is no vacancy in the Presidential Villa.  When he was asked in Daura, his home town, in Katsina, after casting his vote, accompanied by Aisha, the wife and First Lady, if he would congratulate the winner , if he loses the election?. His response was : I will congratulate myself, an indication that he already knew, he will win the election because of the structures he had put on ground to facilitate the winning process Political watchers are watching to see how the unfolding drama between Atiku, the PDP, presidential Candidate and Buhari, his counterpart in APC, who has been declared the President-elect and issued certificate of return by INEC, would end in the tribunal.

 The worry of many was that if the tribunal judgement favours Atiku, the PDP, Candidate, the country would be worse for it as he would go ahead to that in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC,  in his avowed intention to make his friends, not the country rich.  ” I will privatise NNPC and make my friends rich, if they like they can kill me”, he had said.  At present the country’s external reserves is over $43 billion, with the government still overseeing the day to day running of the behemoth called NNPC. 

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