The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday called to question the integrity of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), accusing it of working for the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP specifically alleged that the INEC not only awarded the contract for the supply of Master Card Readers to an APC apologist, but also handed the master key to the man whom it identified as Sani Musa.
Director of Media and Publicity of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, who disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, accused INEC of putting in place in its preparation for the Presidential election programmes specifically meant to benefit the APC with a view to ensuring victory for the opposition party.
Fani-Kayode, however, expressed confidence that the PDP would win the elections irrespective of what happens, saying with confidence that Nigerians in their millions would vote for President Goodluck Jonathan.
Speaking on the controversy surrounding the debate of whether voters should stay behind after voting to protect their votes or not, the PDP asked voters to stay back at the polling units and ensure that their votes are not rigged in favour of the opposition.
“We cannot sit by idly and remain silent when a desperate group of ruthless and greedy little men, in collusion with their friends in the APC, rob the Nigerian people of their historic opportunity to elect a President of their choice.
“This they intend to do this by sitting in a dark room somewhere and rigging the election in the most sophisticated manner even before it holds.
“We shall share this information in good faith and we shall then leave the matter for necessary action by the relevant security agencies and authorities,” he stated.
“Our concerns stem from the fact that the moving spirit and a major shareholder and board member of the company that supplied the Card Reader system and machines to INEC is not only a friend of but also an ardent and keen supporter of General Mohammadu Buhari and the APC.
“That man’s name is Sani Musa and he is indeed the main force behind the company. The company’s name is Act Technologies Ltd. and the Chairman of the company is one Engineer SK Danladi.
“How and why INEC would give the contract to supply the Card Readers to a fanatical APC supporter and to a man whose other company was officially blacklisted by INEC a couple of years ago for sharp practices, needs to be explained,” he stated.
He said Sani Musa has expressed his undying support for the APC and General Buhari and his hatred and virulent opposition to the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan openly and publicly on his Facebook wall.
“Some of his comments on Facebook read as follows: ‘I stand with him (Buhari) for whatever reason” and “Imagine the kind of people given spaces in our nation’s news tabloids. Hoodlums are having field day in Nigeria since the inception of GEJ’s administration. Mad men, hooligans and vultures have taken over decency of the society. May Allah save us from the torments of this (sic) rascals and expose their intentions on our nation state be it the Boko Haram, killer militants or by extension those in authority with wicked intentions – Amen.’”
He also alleged that certain aspect of and electronic components within the Card Reader system which would be used in Saturday’s election had not only been compromised but that the encryption codes and so-called ‘’master key’’ may have been made available to the opposition or their friends and agents.
“This will enable them to access the system, fabricate and generate fake votes and manipulate the voting patterns to their advantage. This constitutes a very serious breach of security and it is a criminal offence,” he stated.
“If the conspiracy is not exposed, if the Nigerian people do not rise up and demand answers, if the plan is not intercepted and aborted, if the Chairman of INEC does not answer the relevant questions and take the necessary steps and if the relevant individuals, including Sani Musa and his collaborators and co-conspirators in INEC and the opposition, are not called to order, arrested, interrogated and prosecuted, their plan may well succeed,” he further said.
Raising further allegations, Fani-Kayode said specifically that, “The Master Encryption/Decryption Key that can “unlock” and simulate the PVC data processed by the Smart Card Reader had been compromised.
“There is only one copy of the Master Key in Nigeria and it is in the possession of an individual who is a known APC sympathiser/supporter (and also the contractor responsible for the production of PVCs and manufacture of Smart Card Readers for INEC who was already blacklisted by INEC following his inability to deliver ballot papers during the 2011 elections).
“The Master Key should rightly be in the possession of INEC, as the neutral umpire, under the most stringent access control protocol imaginable and not freely in the possession of a partisan actor,” he stated.
Proffering solutions to the identified problem, the PDP said, “INEC should be officially requested to immediately produce the Master Encryption/Decryption Key (before it has the opportunity to cover up this monumental act of negligence).
“Failure to carry out Independent Security Audit of its IT Infrastructure: Contrary to what the average political commentator thinks, the critical IT infrastructure for the use of the Smart Card Readers by INEC is not necessarily the actual device itself, but the back-end IT infrastructure comprising INEC servers, database, network, personnel and processes.
“Given the critical nature and purpose of this infrastructure, the standard global best practice is for the organisation to enlist the services of an independent third-party IT Security Audit firm to carry out a comprehensive (and indeed, periodic) Security Audit of its entire end-to-end IT infrastructure and prepare a Security Audit Report which forms the ONLY basis upon which INEC can certify its proposed technology as secure and safe from vulnerabilities that can be exploited by rouge persons/systems.
“There are various internationally-acceptable information security standard certifications that a reliable back-end IT infrastructure like INEC’s should pass in order to command public confidence, such as ISO/IEC 27001, ISO 27018, etc.
“The lack of such security-related certifications simply means that INEC cannot confidently assert that its systems have not been “hacked”, compromised or otherwise illegally accessed by unauthorised persons.
“INEC should be officially requested to immediately produce a copy of any Security Audit Report independently authored by a reputable and certified third party (before it has the opportunity to cover up this monumental act of negligence).
“If INEC fails to produce a satisfactory Security Audit Report, then it should be compelled to conduct a fresh Security Audit of its entire IT infrastructure which can even be extended to its production/manufacturing facilities in China (indeed the only other copy of the Master Encryption/Decryption Key is in the possession of the Chinese Manufacturers) – this process of auditing cannot possibly be completed before the general elections,” he stated.
“Compromised back-end Personnel: Contrary to standard industry practice, INEC opted for the engagement of relatively inexperienced, “suitcase” IT Consulting Companies for the development of its back-end collation and transmission systems and other core server and database applications, using predominantly open source software characterised by publicly-available source code – another major security vulnerability.
“While significant budgets were made available for this purpose, INEC’s choice of “greenhorn” consultants was due to the ridiculously low contract sums paid for these consultancy contracts.
“The unfortunate consequence of this indiscretion, however, is that the personnel associated with these firms are poorly motivated, ill-equipped, poorly supervised and easily compromised,” he stated.
Despite the identified challenges, Fani-Kayode expressed confidence that President Jonathan would win the elections.
“The PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation and our candidate President Goodluck Jonathan are not in the least bit worried about what the outcome of Saturday’s election will be.
“We believe that we have the backing and full support of the Nigerian people and we believe that we shall not only win but that we shall win convincingly,” he stated.