INEC debunks ICT director’s resignation rumour

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FREEPRESS – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Saturday said the purported resignation of its director of information and communication technology, Chidi Nwafor, is fake news and should be disregarded.

“The rumour circulating that our Director ICT, Engr. Chidi Nwafor has resigned is totally false and should be disregarded,” INEC said on Saturday.

“The Director and another staff have just returned from South Africa where they represented INEC at the high-level 5th Annual Meeting of ID4Africa Movement in Johannesburg (18 – 20 June 2019),” it added.

The speculations that Nwafor has resigned might have sprung from the ongoing debate at the presidential election tribunal over an alleged server the commission used during February Presidential election.

The opposition People’s Democratic Party and its candidate Atiku Abubakar had filed an application seeking access to inspect the server and data of smart card readers used by the electoral body in the conduct of the election.

In their petition, they stated that by the figures obtained from INEC’s server, they won the presidential election against Buhari and the third respondent, All Progressives Congress (APC).

Based on the figures allegedly obtained from the server, Abubakar said he scored 18,356,732 votes as against those of Buhari, who he said polled 16,741,430 votes.

“The servers from which the said figures were derived belong to the first respondent (INEC). The figures and votes were transmitted to the first respondent’s Presidential Result’s Server 1 and, thereafter, aggregated in INEC_PRES_RSLT_SRV2019, whose physical address or unique Mac address is 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9 with Microsoft Product ID 00252-7000000000-AA535. The above descriptions are unique to the 15th respondent’s server,” Abubakar claimed.

Abubakar alleged that the INEC chairman “committed grave errors in the final collation exercise” for the election by “falsely crediting” some persons with political parties, including “Okotie Christopher, Reverend Dr. Onwubuya and Ojinika Jeff Chinze.”

Uche told the tribunal that the inspection of the server and data was necessary for the interest of justice, transparency and neutrality on the part of the first respondents, INEC.

But the INEC counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), vehemently opposed the application for the inspection of the server. He said that the application should be dismissed because “We do not have a server.”

Usman also said that the Court of Appeal in an enrolled order of March 6, 2019, refused all the prayers in the said application. He maintained that the court, having refused the prayers, lacked jurisdiction to revisit it.

The lead counsel to President Buhari, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and the counsel to the APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), also made a similar argument in opposing the application for inspection.

Olanipekun told the tribunal that it lacked jurisdiction to overrule itself while Fagbemi urged the panel to be wary of making an order that it is not capable of enforcing, because INEC had said it had no server.

Consequently, the five-man panel led by Justice Mohammed Garba announced reservation of ruling in the application to a date to be communicated to the parties. He then adjourned the pre-hearing of Atiku and PDP’s petition till June 24.

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