In a recent development at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja, Amazon Web Services Incorporated appeared as a witness to provide testimony regarding the general elections. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had enlisted Amazon’s technical support during the elections, and the company’s representative, Mpeh Clarita Ogar, took the stand as the seventh witness on behalf of the Labour Party and their candidate, Mr. Peter Obi. Their petition sought to invalidate the election victory of President Bola Tinubu from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Contradicting INEC’s claims, Ogar stated under oath that there were no technical glitches recorded in the country on February 25, the day of the presidential election. INEC had previously attributed its inability to transmit real-time election results to its viewing portal using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation (BVAS) machines to technical glitches experienced on that day. However, Ogar, a cloud engineer and architect, presented six volumes of reports from various regions worldwide where Amazon Web Services hosts its servers. These regions included North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Europe.
Ogar affirmed that no technical glitches occurred across all six continents hosting AWS cloud services on February 25, 2023. Along with her witness statement and curriculum vitae, she submitted her appointment letter as evidence before the court. Despite opposition from all respondents, a five-member panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani admitted all the documents as exhibits in the case.
The respondents named in the petition, marked as CA/PEPC/03/2023, are INEC, President Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the APC. The court adjourned proceedings until the following day to allow the respondents to cross-examine the witness.
Earlier in the case, the petitioners accused INEC of withholding electoral documents crucial to their claim that the presidential election was rigged in favor of Tinubu. Mr. Jubril Okutekpa, the petitioners’ counsel, expressed dissatisfaction with INEC’s refusal to provide the requested exhibits, despite repeated letters. Seeking the court’s intervention, Okutekpa lamented the challenges they faced in obtaining the necessary documents, emphasizing the time-bound nature of the proceedings.
In response, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, representing INEC, refuted the allegations, stating that the petitioners had not raised the issue with him prior to the proceedings. Mahmoud asserted that Obi and the Labour Party would receive the requested documents if they followed the proper procedure for obtaining them from INEC.
The court will continue to examine the case, with the petitioners hoping to provide evidence of election irregularities and nullify President Tinubu’s victory.