There was fresh revelation Tuesday as the Independent National Electoral Commission Information Communication Technology (ICT) expert, Mrs. Abimbola Oladunjoye disclosed that only 293,072 voters were accredited to vote during the March 11 election.
She made the disclosure before the ongoing Rivers State governorship election petition tribunal in Abuja.
And this figure was far lower than the initial disclosure by the electoral commission which put the total number of accredited voters at about 1,029,102.
Oladunjoye revealed the data after persistent questioning by the counsel to the petitioner, Mr Akinlolu Olujimi (SAN).
The respondents’ lawyers who include: Onyechi Ikpeazu (INEC), Emmanue Okala (for Wike) and Chris Uche (for PDP) made every effort to discourage the witness from disclosing the information.
According to Oladunjoye, who is also INEC Head of Data Management Unit explained that the information gathered from card readers were periodically uploaded to the central server of the commission automatically.
She said it may be delayed due to network interruption.
“I am aware that the commission took a decision that the smart card reader should be used for accreditation on governorship election.
“On election day, -all voters are supposed to come to the polling unit with his or her voters’ card. The Incident Form is issued to a voter when the card reader cannot successfully accredit him or her and this.
“The server was available for the card reader data uploading throughout the period of the election and was shut down six According to her, the only issue in the card reader machine is that the machines were only reconfigured before the governorship election.
She also said that if a voter card was damaged, the card reader machine may not be able to recognise it, adding that, if it was dirty, the card reader will still recognise it.
“If a card is damaged, the card reader may not be able to recognise it, the card reader are RF ID card which has antenna; the card reader communicate to the antennal to enable it read.
“So if the card is dirty, I don’t think there is a problem,’’ she added.
When further questioned by the Counsel to Wike, Ukala (SAN) during cross examination, Oladunjoye disclosed that the card reader recognises information which includes the registration area, polling unit and serial number of voters.
Other information recognised by the card reader machine are Local Government Area, delimitation constituency, a signal of a failed or successful accreditation and total number of accredition made by the machine.
Earlier, Senior Police Officer, Mr. Tafa Michael from Mopol 48, AHODA, Rivers state told the tribunal that he was able to arrest over 70 people in Seme, a satellite town in the state as a result of the distress call he got from his superior officers on the day of election.
According to Michael, the call came in at about 12:45 p.m. and he quickly moved into action alongside his team to the town where he was directed to go.
“On arrival at Seme, there was a compound opposite the PDP secretariat which I was informed by people living in that area that, inside the house there are a lot of people with electoral materials.
“I came down with my men from our vehicle and we met the people including some security men jubilating with electoral materials inside the compound.
“They came there with a lorry and we evacuated them to our place after taking some shots of them with our phones,’’ the witness said.
Michael listed Corp members, INEC ad-hoc staffs, PDP party agents with electoral materials like card reader machine, thumb printed ballot papers, electoral boxes, inkpad, T-shirts and other security personnel as those arrested in the compound.
According to the witness, after leaving that venue, they took the people to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Nigerian Police.