By Olaolu Bilau
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has given a lie to the claim of the State Security Service that the commission’s data base was about to be hacked into.
The SSS had raided the Lagos Office of the All Progressives Congress and unfolding the outcome of the raid, the commission said two weeks ago that it had uncovered an attempt by APC to hack into INEC data base.
But speaking on Wednesday night during an interview on a Channels TV programme, Straight Talk with Kadaria, Jega said nobody could hack into its data base because its not on an online channel.
He also said nobody could clone INEC’s Permanent Voters Card. He said any cloned PVC would be detected by the card readers.
“They can attempt to clone our cards but they cannot succeed. The card reader would detect any fraud. We are 100 percent sure that no cloned card will be used,” he said.
He dismissed a report that the Department of State Service had access to INEC’s database.
He said although the DSS approached INEC to carry out investigations on certain electoral crimes, the commission didn’t release the private data of voters to the DSS.
According to him, “By law, we are supposed to protect the secrecy of the voters and we have a lot of information in our database. We have not made our database accessible to anybody. The DSS came to investigate, they asked questions and we are willing to assist any security agency to do a thorough investigation to determine whether there is a crime or attempt to commit a crime.”
On the raging certificate saga of the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, Jega said the commission cannot disqualify the general even if he does not present his senior school certificate..
He said the Electoral Law permitted that if any presidential candidate cited any documents that he could not produce, he could swear to an affidavit.
On the eligibility of Buhari and the calls for INEC to disqualify him, he said, “When a political party presents a candidate and he meets all the requirements of submission -deadline and the forms- INEC cannot reject such a candidate.
“There is a provision that the candidates should provide documentary evidence of whatever qualification they have cited, but the law also permits that if you cite documents and you don’t have photocopies, you can swear to an affidavit and in this case, INEC by the provision of the section 31 of the Electoral Act cannot disqualify an appropriately nominated candidate of any party. We can deregister a political party, but the law says we must accept any candidate; it is a matter for the court, they are free to go to the court.”
On his plans after the end of his tenure in June, the INEC chairman said he would go back to teaching.