A software engineer, Anthony Chinwo, appeared before the Presidential Election Petitions Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday and was identified as the second witness fielded by the flagbearer of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, against the Independent National Electoral Commission, President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Led in evidence by Obi’s legal team, represented by P.I Ekweto SAN, Anthony Chinwo asked the court to adopt his statement on oath.
In his statement on oath before the court, he said from his knowledge of software engineering and computer operations, “the information or data generated/inputted in the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System whether operating online or offline were transmitted to the INEC servers, including the virtual server hosted on the Amazon Web Services, AWS, Cloud Platform.”
He also deposed in his statement on oath that the AWS is the world’s most comprehensive platform which enables large enterprises and government agencies to “effectively and in real-time manage data”, thereby disputing the statement by INEC about technical glitches during the presidential election.
Under cross-examination, INEC lawyer, A.B Mahmoud SAN asked him if he was familiar with any of the applications on the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines.
He responded in the negative but noted that he was familiar with the backend server and INEC Results Viewing Portal, IRev.
The witness was also asked if he believes that the Amazon Web Services, AWS, is the most secure provider of cloud services globally and that INEC engaged it for the purpose of securing the results
The witness agreed that the AWS was secured but explained that “It is not a fair conclusion” to conclude that INEC protected the actual results of the 2023 presidential poll.
“You are not a staff of Amazon?,” Mahmoud asked him.
“No, I am not,” Chinwo replied.
When the turn of Tinubu and Kashim Shettima’s lawyer, Yusuf Ali SAN, came, he asked the witness if he was still standing by his statement on oath.
“They are seventeen paragraphs and I stand by them,” the witness replied.
When pressed further by Ali, the witness agreed that while the election is disputed, it is only INEC that prescribes the procedures for conduct of election in Nigeria.
APC lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, asked Chinwo to tell the court if it was his experience as an architect and software engineer that he used to write his statement on oath.
The witness said he wrote his statement on oath from his knowledge as a software engineer as well as his investigation of the INEC Results Viewing Portal, IRev.
The witness went on to say that he leveraged on the Application Programming Interface, API, to collect and study all the INEC publicly available information on the internet relating to the IRev and the 2023 election.
But Fagbemi asked him why he did not put his profile on oath, to which he replied that it was intentional and for sensitive reasons.
The court subsequently discharged the witness from the testimony dock.
Obi’s lawyer, P.I Ekweto, then adopted his interrogatory application which among other things wants INEC to answer certain relevant questions, including who restored the alleged “technical glitches” the electoral umpire said happened on election day.
He asked the court to grant his application in the interest of justice.
But INEC counsel, Oluwakemi Pinheiro SAN, urged the court to dismiss the application for being a waste of time.
APC’s lawyer, Olanrewaji Akinsola, asked the court to dismiss the application.
Responding, the panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani reserved ruling “for either tomorrow or the next day.”
Part of the question Obi’s team insists INEC must answer border on the technological aspect of the poll.
“What time was the technological glitches fixed and or repaired?
“What was the exact time of the occurrence of the technical glitch which prevented the e-transmission of the results of the Presidential Election on 25th February 2023?,” the application partly reads.