Nigeria: Further evidence suggests INEC used Server in 2019 elections
There is further evidence that Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may have used a central server in the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
The opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar are relying on purported information on the server to proof that President Muhammadu Buhari did not win the March 2019 election.
But the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the INEC are insisting that the electoral body did not use any server as that was inconsistent with the operative electoral law. However, the INEC received the budgeted sum of N1.5 billion meant to put the server into use.
There have been testimonies by INEC officials that the body transmitted information to the server during the conduct of the elections.
An internal circular of the INEC has indicated that the commission transmitted voter information from smart card readers to a central server during the 2019 presidential elections.
The document, which was first posted on social media by Reno Omokri, an opposition PDP operative, on Wednesday afternoon, carried a directive from national secretary of INEC, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, to other senior officials of the commission on challenges recorded in transmitting voter accreditation data to a server.
“The commissioner has observed, with deep concerns, the number of smart card readers (SCRs) that do not have data of accredited voters in the just concluded presidential/NASS elections nationwide,” Ms Oriaran-Anthony said in the March 25 letter to all resident electoral commissioners (RECs) across the country.
The top electoral officer also noted in the memo that 4,786 smart card readers did not have data on accredited voters following the presidential election on February 23, representing about four per cent of the total SCRs deployed for that exercise.
“Attached is the chart, showing the PUs (polling units) not uploaded to the SCR accreditation backend, for each of the states,” Ms Oriaran-Anthony added in the memo.
Ms Oriaran-Anthony then directed all concerned RECs to liaise with their technical and electoral operations officials to clarify why the card readers failed to upload accreditation data on election day. They were given until March 28 to submit their replies.
The document marks yet another pressure on the electoral body over whether or not it used a central server to collect data from polling units across the country on election day.
The commission has insisted that it was not in possession of any central server for the conduct of the election, saying doing so would have contradicted the Electoral Act. INEC maintained the position despite overwhelming claim to the contrary by some of its presiding officers in the election.
The court deferred pronouncement on the server until a proper argument has been made by both teams in the substantive petition. The petitioner began calling its witnesses last week.