The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Akwa Ibom State tuesday corroborated the evidences of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the on-going Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja that there was election on the 11th of April, 2015.
Testifying before the tribunal, the Head of Department of Information and  Communication Technology, INEC, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Pius Nwankwo admitted that the governorship elections took place across the 31 local government areas in Akwa Ibom State. He said that human error, among other factors, led to the malfunction of the card readers during the last governorship election in the state.
Nwankwo blamed most of the errors during the general elections on  insufficient training acquired by the ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC. The ICT expert explained that the permanent voter card (PVC) is embedded with a micro chip where data about a voter is being stored, and that an antenna in the micro chip communicates with the smart card reader.
“If the PVC is manhandled, like being put in the wallet, it affects the micro chip and affects the correspondence between the PVC and the card reader and could make it not to be readable,” said Nwankwo who appeared as INEC’s first witness at the tribunal.
Nwankwo, whose explanations were occasionally punctuated by objection calls by the petitioner’s counsel, Solomon Umoh, also informed the tribunal that the INEC ad hoc staffers were barely knowledgeable on the working of the new technology as they had been trained for about a day.
He said also that a mistake in the internet protocol address would cause the data not to be read on the server at the INEC headquaters in Abuja.
While being examined by Counsel to the PDP Mr. Tayo Oyetibo SAN Nwankwo admitted that they had observed such listed challenges during preparations for the 2015 elections.
Nwankwo while being referred to Exhibit 317 (card reader data),revealed to the tribunal that the data uploading process was still in progress, whereas Exhibit 317 before the tribunal contains only the data obtained as at April 27 & after the date, they were still uploading data to the card reader.
The Petitioner’s lawyer who raised another objection by asking that questions should be limited to the month of April, was rebuffed by Mr.Oyetibo who replied that the statement of the witness clearly states that the uploading of the data to card reader data is a continuing process.
The tribunal judge Sadiq Umar, had to restrain APC lawyer from making unnecessary interjections, saying he should reserve his arguments for the address.
During cross examination by one of Umana’s lead counsel, Mr Dayo Akinlaja SAN, Mr Nwankwo said he said he made efforts to visit several polling units on the day of elections, but that he was unable to get to the over 1000 units in the state.
Nwankwo also stated that the card readers where operated by the electoral officers (EOs), and were currently at the INEC headquaters in Uyo.
Tribunal has adjourned to 16th September, 2015

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