Obi’s web engineer counters INEC’s claim over IReV glitches during presidential election

A witness of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, on Monday, told the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja that the INEC’s IReV portal did not experience any glitches to justify the failure to upload real time the polling unit results of the 25 February presidential election.

INEC had, in a statement issued a day after the polls by its Commissioner for Voter Education, Festus Okoye,  for the commission’s inability to ensure real-time uploading of results to IReV portal as provided in the guidelines for the election.

Voting ended in most of the over 176,000 polling units where the election held across Nigeria on 25 February, but results remained inaccessible on the INEC IReV portal 24 hours after polling ended.

Mr Obi filed his petition at the presidential election court to challenge the victory of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), citing the failure to upload the results of the election to IReV as one the breaches that marred the disputed poll.

He also alleged that INEC manipulated the polls in favour of Mr Tinubu.

But contrary to the electoral umpire’s claim, Mr Obi’s seventh witness, Mpeh Ogar, Monday told the court that a report of the health status of the Amazon Web Services which hosts INEC IReV portal showed that there were no technical glitches on 25 February, 2023.

Ms Ogar, a cloud engineer and architect at Amazon Web Services Incorporated, was led in evidence by Mr Obi’s lawyer, Patrick Ikwueto, on Monday.

She adopted her witness statement on oath deposed to on 19 June 19 at the registry of the court.

Ms Ogar, a subpoenaed witness, tendered copies of her resumè and appointment letter at Amazon Web Services Incorporated and six volume reports of the 33 regions where Amazon Web Services hosts their servers.

But INEC, APC and Mr Tinubu’s objections to the admissibility of the documents, the five-member panel of the court headed by Haruna Tsammani, admitted and marked the documents as exhibits.

After admitting the documents, the court adjourned the suit until Tuesday for cross examination of Ms Ogar.

Again, Obi accuses INEC of refusing to provide electoral documents

For the umpteenth time, Mr Obi has accused INEC of refusing to provide his legal team with necessary documents to prosecute his case against Mr Tinubu’s victory at the polls.

Earlier at the resumed trial on Monday, Mr Obi’s lawyer, Jibril Okutepa, informed the court of his team’s frustration in obtaining vital electoral documents that would be used in substantiating their claims of electoral fraud against the respondents in the petition.

“This is to formally bring to the notice of the court the excruciating experience we are having from INEC,” Mr Okutepa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) lamented.

He said INEC released only a few documents to his team on Monday.

“We have done everything humanly possible, including persuasion and letter writing. We decide to seek the help of the court,” Mr Okutepa said.

The lawyer sought the court’s intervention in the imbroglio.

“We are crying to your Lordships as we have no where to run to. It appears that INEC is deliberately frustrating the proceedings,” Mr Okutepa told the court.

But INEC’s lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, a SAN, disagreed with Mr Okutepa’s submissions.

Mr Mahmoud said none of Mr Obi’s lawyers discussed the issue with him on Monday.

“They didn’t want to follow the procedures. I am taken aback with the submissions of Okutepa. We can’t sit here and be hearing lamentation that is unfounded,” Mr Mahmoud said, adding that there are procedures in obtaining documents from INEC.

At a previous hearing of the suit, Mr Mahmoud informed the court that Mr Obi failed to pay the processing fees for the electoral documents he was requesting for.

Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who is also challenging Mr Tinubu’s victory, paid over N6 million as fees for electoral documents.

Mr Atiku’s lawyer, Chris Uche, a SAN, made the disclosure to the court recently.