Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday traded harsh words over alleged illegal access to the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Presidential Campaign Council of the APC had written to the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of Department of State Security (DSS), urging them to investigate the PDP’s leadership over alleged illegal access to the server of INEC.
But the PDP in a swift response dismissed the APC’s petition as evidence that it was jittery over the opposition party’s petition with the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, saying the ruling party was embarrassed by the quantum of evidence it has to ground its case.
In a letter signed by the Director, Strategic Communications, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN, the party said the only conclusion one could draw from PDP’s claim was that the main opposition party had prepared those results, which were to be smuggled into the INEC server.
It said the security agencies should step in to investigate how the PDP allegedly gained access to the INEC facility and for what purpose it did so.
“The APC Presidential Campaign Council hereby prays that the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of the Department of State Services use your good offices to investigate the hacking of and/or illegal tampering with the INEC server by the PDP. The leadership of the PDP must be invited, interrogated and investigated and those identified as perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted,” said APC.
The party added that while opposition is healthy in a democracy, it is not a license for criminality and illegality, adding that it will be wrong for the country to condone such a blatant criminal claim by the PDP of having illegal access to INEC’s server.
APC alleged in the petition that following the last-minute postponement of the February 16, 2019 presidential and National Assembly Elections, the country was shocked to see already prepared presidential elections results floating around in the cyber space just less than 24 hours after the postponed election was originally billed to hold.
It said that the fake results had details of the scores of the candidates of the major parties.
The APC Campaign Council said the fake results gave victory to the candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, even when elections did not hold.
It further said that despite the approval of the February 23 presidential elections as credible by nearly all local and international observers, the PDP cried foul and made shocking claims.
It said PDP claimed that from purported results it obtained from INEC’s server, it has proof that its candidate won the election by about 1.6million votes!
It said: “Shockingly and coincidentally, this margin was about the same margin by which it also purportedly won by the fake results released just hours after the postponement of the February 16, 2019 presidential and National Assembly Elections.
“As if this expensive joke was not enough, the PDP and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have gone ahead to file an election petition against the clear victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and have repeated the same outlandish claim of having access to INEC’s server, which shows that they have some purported results at their disposal giving victory to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.”
The APC campaign team explained that INEC’s server is the back end of electronic records of INEC and not just its website.
You Are Jittery PDP Tells Buhari, APC
The PDP in its response called on Buhari and the APC to stop, what it called, their unnecessary fabrications, smear campaign and prepare to face its legal team at the presidential election tribunal.
The party in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, noted that by resorting to shadow-boxing outside the tribunal, Buhari and the APC have shown that they have no defence to present to the court against PDP’s submission that they stole the party’s mandate.
According to him, “President Buhari is overweighed by the burden of illegitimacy, following overwhelming evidence before the tribunal that he stole the presidential mandate, hence this lame attempt at blackmailing the tribunal by engaging in clear acts of subjudice.”
Ologbondiyan stressed that the facts and issues touching on the INEC server are already within the public domain and Nigerians are already at home with them.
He stated: “It is even more appalling that Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a member of Buhari’s legal team, who should know better, would engage in this act of subjudice designed to distort facts already known to Nigerians that our presidential candidate and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, clearly won the February 23 presidential election.
“Since it has become clear that President Buhari has no defence to present to the court, we counsel him to save the nation further stress by surrendering our mandate, which was freely given by majority of Nigerians to Atiku Abubakar.”