- Calls for investigative audit of PVC production
- Alleges INEC contractor is staunch member of APC
- Urges members to guard their votes at polling stations
By Chuks Okocha in Abujaâ€¨
With less than 48 hours to the presidential and National Assembly elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign organisation has raised the alarm about an alleged plot by the Independent National Electoral Commssion (INEC) to rig the election in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP campaign team also disclosed that Sani Musa, the owner of the ACT Technologies which was contracted by INEC to produce the permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) is a card-carrying member of APC, and urged its members to guard their votes on election day.
It also called for a comprehensive audit of the production of the PVCs, alleging that the PVCs had been compromised.
Addressing journalists Wednesday, the Director of the PDP presidential campaigns, Femi Fani Kayode, said it was incumbent as a responsible, accountable and sensible campaign organisation to expose the rot, point out the dangers of doing nothing about it, finger and identify those who are involved and call on the authorities to do something about it before it is too late.
According to him, “Our concerns stems 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 (rtd) 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 Limited and the Chairman of the company is one S.K Danladi.”
He queried, “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, need to be explained. Sani Musa has expressed his undying support for the APC and 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 a 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,.”
According to the spokesman of PDP presidential campaigns, “Worse still, it is clear that certain aspects of and electronic components within the card reader system which will be used in Saturday’s election have 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. It is also very dangerous. It can easily be carried out successfully because, if done quietly and properly and without any deep scrutiny, it is virtually foolproof. All you need to make it work is to have certain relevant and key INEC officials who are in the know to work closely with the supplier of the card readers and an opposition party that is so hungry and desperate for power that they are ready to pay large sums of money to their friends and associates to help them get it by hook or by crook.
“We believe that all those components are now in place and that the biggest and most brazen attempt to rig elections in the history of our country will take place on Saturday if the necessary measures are not taken to prevent it. 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.”
In view of this, Fani-Kayode called on PDP supporters to cast their votes and stay at the polling stations to guide it, saying: “We call on the party leadership and faithful to direct our supporters and polling agents to be very vigilant at every polling booth and to guard and protect their votes. After voting, they should stay at the polling booths to ensure that their votes are counted and that they are not manipulated or changed.
He called for a halt in INEC’s plans to use the Card Readers for the forthcoming general election until such issues are satisfactorily resolved and fully certified as being secured by reputable independent third party security auditors.
If the Card Readers are used, he said, that it means the APC has already secured, through rogue means, an unassailable advantage over the ruling PDP which will most likely result in a resounding electoral victory for it irrespective of PDP’s actions or inactions, in the event that the Card Readers are used for the elections.
He explained that the objective of the press conference was to highlight the need for INEC to admit to the security-related failings of its Card Readers implementation under circumstances that will be credible to local and international observers, such that it will become obvious that the use of Card Readers for the forthcoming polls cannot guarantee free, fair and credible elections.
Fani Kayode said the objective of the investigative audit of the PVCs and production is whether the Master Encryption/Decryption Key that can “unlock” and simulate the PVCs data processed by the Card Reader has been compromised.
According to him, “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 manufacturer of Card Readers for INEC, who was already blacklisted by INEC following his inability to deliver ballot papers during the 2011 election. 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.
“INEC has already expressed concern over intelligence reports that APC has been purchasing VINs (Voter Identification Numbers uniquely identifying each PVC), which can only mean that the Party is already in possession of the Master Key (as the purchase of VINs would otherwise have been a fruitless exercise).”
He said that this has grave implications for the PDP as the opposition APC, armed with the Master Key and sufficient VINs, can actually simulate the same data transmitted from any Smart Card Reader deployed for the elections at will.
He further said, “The situation is even now worsened by the fact that APC no longer has to purchase VINs or PVCs as they can now download the entire VINs directly from the INEC database which they have successfully ‘hacked’ into.”
In view of this, the spokesman of PDP presidential campaigns 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.”
He said the only way is for INEC 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 mischevious persons/systems.
In calling for an investigative audit, Fani Kayode said, “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, among others. 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.”
He also said that 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).
Accordingly, he said, 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 election.
He also condemned the perceived comments of the wife of the APC presidential candidate, Aisha Buhari, calling Benin girls prostitutes.