A company led by the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed Bola Tinubu, may have deployed the perfect election-rigging mechanism in the 2015 election, a confidential review obtained by SaharaReporters shows.
And it may all have been accomplished with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not knowing its own technology was being used against it.
It began in 2012 when a company, Act Technologies Limited, was put into play after it had been taken from its original owners by Tinubu and Retired Col. Sani Bello, two of Africa’s wealthiest men. ACT went into partnership with INEC to provide voter registration and accreditation, as well as election-management technology, to Nigeria’s electoral body.
“This company eventually flushed out the original recipient of the voter management system contract from INEC and provided a compromised technology which had a gaping back door framework for manipulating voter registration, PVC card issue and the voting process,” the report said.
The contract to provide INEC with the election technology was originally to have been awarded to Zinox Technologies Ltd, but INEC frustrated Zinoxand ensured it was awarded to ACT, which was then used to perpetrate APC’s scheme known as “Preferred Voter Arrangement.”
“Despite winning the INEC contract, the company had no records of having filed an annual report as of May 2015,” the report said. “Disgruntled individuals within the company have revealed that approximately 80% of the company’s earnings from IMEC were siphoned off, with the company being left with 20% to execute the project.”
The report is replete with tales of money-laundering and manipulation, fake companies and addresses, and of powerful people and their families playing games with funds and companies. Many of the companies remain unknown to the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Among its stunning revelations, the bulk of the funds paid by INEC for the card reader project were paid out without delay to companies that were completely unrelated to the project. “In fact, a majority of the money was paid out to a Maigidana Bureau de Change, a company with a fake address.”
Of greater importance, however, the report said there was strong evidence that key figures in APC had control of ACT Technologies during the period in which card readers and PVC cards were being produced, and had started paying out money through ACT Technologies to the companies producing the card readers and handling the Biometrics security one year before INEC paid any money to ACT.
According to the report, “There is a very high probability that the Card reader technology and accompanying biometric PVC card technology was severely compromised.”
It observed that a pattern of payments in May and July 2012 to Shenzhen Emporium by Capital Management Limited, a company suspected to be linked to Tinubu, and by a friend of APC Niger State governor-elect Alhaji Sani Abubakar Bello, took place one year a year before INEC paid any money for the project. “So it is safe to assume that both of these individuals or the party they represent made these payments in order to have their own private access to a large number of card readers. These card readers would have been an exact replica of the ones given to INEC.”
Examining the pattern of those events, the report said that there is evidence to suggest that not only did elements within APC have an exact replica of INEC’s accreditation infrastructure, but that they had it well in advance of INEC.
“In essence, these individuals gave INEC a system that they already had.”
The report noted that INEC was given a system it could access only via its handheld terminals, one it was told it had sole custody of.
“They couldn’t have known that prior to the system being delivered, thousands of other terminals had already been produced for individuals linked to a political party. Essentially, a secret back door had been created accreditation system. And while INEC was doing the voter registration, the individuals with back door access injected their own data into the INEC database.”
It said all that was then needed was the port address that INEC used in communicating with the database, which was not difficult to obtain since the electoral body gave it to their field staff to program the card readers.
“With access to the port and to the exact replica of both the card readers and the Biometric security template, parties loyal to the APC injected data seamlessly and near flawlessly into the database without anyone being alerted. With inflated accreditation numbers in designated polling units/regions, they knew exactly which polling units to rig and go unnoticed.”
The report said the only weakness in the plan concerns whether INEC kept time logs of when its staff uploaded to the database, otherwise it would be very difficult to prove definitively that it was tampered with.
It concluded that in 2015, the electronic accreditation process was clearly tampered with.
The report then offered this dire warning, for a nation facing national elections starting this Saturday: “If the card reader technology, as it currently exists, gets used in future elections, the individuals who have this technology have the capability to inflate accredited voter numbers and dictate which electoral candidate win which election.”
Tinubu, who has bragged in recent days that he is richer than Osun State and that he is single-handedly bankrolling Buhari’s re-election effort. He has promised the president three million votes in Lagos.
Last week, The Guardian (United Kingdom) faulted Nigeria’s voter registration patterns, noting that the number of new voters registered since January 2018 has increased by an identical percentage in each of thestates, leaving the forthcoming polls open to rigging.
The newspaper described the correlation as a "statistical impossibility," saying it does not reflect Nigeria's demographic changes.