Coming on the heels of the All Progressives Congress (APC) insinuating at their defense at the presidential election petition tribunal that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was not born in Nigeria, as the constitution required of anyone contesting the presidential elections, other allegations and counter allegations have ensued. In fact, until the matter comes to a close at the tribunal, more juicy details of what transpired in the backend in the last elections will be released gradually.
The APC has averred that Atiku was born on the 25th of November, 1946, in Jada township, Adamawa, Northern Cameroon; and so he cannot be a citizen of Nigeria, but of Cameroon.
When World War 1 ended in 1918, while Cameroon was being administered by Germany, she became part of the League of Nations’ mandate territory which consisted of French Cameroon and British Cameroon, in 1919. However, in 1961, when a plebiscite was held in British Cameroon, the people of British Cameroon chose to align with Nigeria – and they became citizens, but not by birth.
Insinuations that Atiku’s candidacy should not have happened in the first place is one that will require a lot of interpretation by constitutional law experts. This rather tumultuous twist to the fact pending at the tribunal must have been dug up as a result of the Atiku and People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) petition which brought to the fore the controversial WAEC certificate scandal of President Buhari. So with Atiku’s birthing twist hitting the public too, the battle might just be getting started.
But even more dramatic is the subject of the legality of the INEC server evidence which Atiku included in his petition: Atiku was quoted to have categorically stated figures from INEC’s server which showed he won the presidential elections. Rage deepened, however, as the people began to ask questions bothering on the legality of the PDP infiltrating INEC’s server and culling such figures as accredited voter number, votes cast and so on.
When INEC tried to do damage control, in a statement released earlier in the week, PDP further released the MAC Address of the INEC server as well as other incriminating details which shows that PDP had good evidence that there was collusion by INEC to alter the election results. PDP even added for measure that they are ready to call in experts from Microsoft and some other technology companies as witnesses in the suit. This twist to the story is not surprising, as INEC, an institution which prides itself in being independent, has a notorious history of trying to doctor poll figures to fit a forced reality.
According to guidelines released by INEC before the elections, it was said that no voter will be able to vote without being accredited by the Smart Card Readers (SCR) and as checks/balances for validating the conduct of the polls. The SCR has therefore been upgraded to serve as temporary data silos for election data before they are transferred to INEC’s server. The SCRs are also known to be used for e-collation at every polling unit.
It is only fair that the PDP has found a way to access this informational resources, which should have even be published and made publicly available. That the PDP might have hacked into the INEC server to obtain such information which will be useful in its petition is akin to what should have normally obtained since the tribunal granted Atiku’s lawyers the right to inspect materials but INEC remained resolute by refusing them access. Wouldn’t hacking into INEC’s server be the next natural thing for a desperate PDP to explore?
It will be no huge surprise if truly, the error-prone manual collation which INEC forced itself to do is full of holes, and that only the server figures can be trusted. Therefore, while many have tried debating the legality of hacking into the INEC server, we should also be reminded that evidence obtained through illegal means is strangely admissible by Nigerian law.
This, the battle between the PDP/Atiku and APC/ Buhari, may be the biggest post-election battle ever fought in Nigeria. And whichever way the swing goes, whichever of the two candidates is pronounced as victor, Nigerians now know that it will no more be the usual business of letting it go – as the APC initially tried to dissuade and bully Atiku from going to the tribunal.
Featured image source: The Nation