The Independent National Electoral Commission said it never transmitted the 2019 presidential election result on a server as claimed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The rebuttal was stated in INEC’s reply to the petition filed by Atiku and PDP challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, as declared by INEC on 27 February.
The commission, which is being represented by Yunus Usman (SAN), as lead counsel, said the results of the poll were never transmitted or collated electronically.
The vehement dismissal of Atiku and PDP’s claim meant that the petitioners must have been scammed to believe that the results were stored electronically.
To be sure, INEC added in its response, that it kept no such server where such electronically transmitted results could have been obtained.
INEC on February 27, 2019, four days after the poll on 23 February, declared that the All Progressives Congress candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, won with 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku, who polled 11,262,978 votes.
But the petitioners stated that “from the data in the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) server…the true, actual and correct results” from the “state to state computation” showed that Atiku polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari who they said scored 16,741,430 votes.
They said the results were the total votes scored by the candidates in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, as there was “no report on sever” about the results from Rivers State as of February 25, 2019.
By calculation, Atiku and the PDP claimed to have defeated Buhari by 1,615,302 votes. But the commission, urging the tribunal to dismiss the petition, said in its reply filed on April 10, that the petitioners’ claims were false.
The INEC’s Director, Information and Communications Technology, Mr Chidi Nwafor, in his witness statement on oath attached to the reply, specifically denied the “server results” which the petitioners were laying claim to.
He said all the results were collated manually and were never transmitted electronically.
Nwafor added that Buhari was duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast at the presidential election.
He stated, “That the petitioners are claiming that votes recorded at the various polling units were electronically transmitted, and stored in the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) server.
“That the petitioners are also claiming that based on the server contents, they and not the 2nd and 3rd respondents won the presidential election.
“That these claims of the petitioners are false as I know as a fact that the 2nd respondent was duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast at the presidential election and scored at least a quarter of the lawful votes cast at the election in 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, more than two-thirds of all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.”
Nwafor also stated, “That the petitioners did not win the majority of the lawful votes cast and did not satisfy the mandatory constitutional requirement to be declared winner having polled 11,262,978 and one quarter of all lawful votes cast in 29 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as against the 2nd respondent who scored 15,191,847 votes cast and one quarter of the lawful votes cast in 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“That the lawful and recognised computation of results is manually done using Electoral Form EC8 series and not the table pleaded by the petitioners given that the said table is not the result collated and declared by the 1st respondent.
“That I know as a fact that the details contained in the table in the paragraph 22 of the petition are inaccurate.
“That I know that mode of transmitting/collating election results is manual, using Forms EC8As, EC8Bs, EC8Cs and EC8Ds and not electronically done.
“That I know that the Manual Technologies 2019 and demonstration videos referred to in paragraph 27 are internal training materials.”