Why INEC’s Claim Of A Non-Existing Server Makes Nonsense Of Our Electoral Process

There is a hemorrhage going on and INEC  is responsible for the bleeding. The constant denial of a  non existent server has left us all in awe of what we are supposed to expect from our electoral body. So let us begin from the very onset and take a critical look at the possibility of the  existence of a server, and the question that is very much hidden in plain sight,  how true is the actual existence of an electronic INEC server? first of, what is a server?

A server is a a computer or computer program which manages access to a centralized resource or service in a network,  so this in itself is where the card reader is supposed to transmit the information of the election conducted in January 2019, how then will an electoral body responsible for conducting election in a nation not have a server?

The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) had initially declared that it would not transmit the results of the 2019 electronically, they had said they were not doing this because they was no law in the country that was backing it.

INEC had consequently said that all the results would be transmitted manually, as provided by the electoral act.

President Mohammadu Buhari reason for declining the assent of the electoral bill  had read in part:

“I am declining assent to the Bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general elections, which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.

 

“Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process.

INEC had also said that in a bid to prevent the hijacking of the result they had developed a home grown technology. What exactly is this home grown technology that they had described and refused to reveal to the public? INEC had once alleged that they had almost being hacked in 2015 by Russians and North Koreans, the question then remains if INEC has no server then what exactly were the Russians and the North Koreans trying to hack?

Hold that thought, let us go back to March 2019 when the All Progressive Congress had on the 25th petitioned the Nigerian Police Force(NPF) and the Department of State Service(DSS) and they had accused the PDP of illegally accessing INEC “non existent” server.

Festus Kayamo who is the spokesman of the APC Presidential Campaign Organization had urged security agencies to question the leadership of the PDP at the time. He had said that PDP had hacked into INEC server and had subsequently inputed false figures into the server that INEC  had said does not exist.  So the question remains this when exactly did a server come into existence? At some point it seemed as if a magic wand had brought INEC’s server into existence because INEC had refused to stop the APC congress from sending security agencies on a wild goose chase after a non existent INEC server.

The letter had read in part and I quote

“Sirs, we wish you to note that INEC’s server is the back end of electronic records of INEC. This is not INEC’s website but its server! Although, the purported results have been conclusively shown by public engagements to be false and even ridiculous, especially as the total number of accredited voters is exactly equivalent to the purported votes of the APC and PDP candidates, this criminal claim of the PDP has revealed a few things: It is now clear that some criminally-minded PDP operatives have access to the INEC server to be able to smuggle in fake results into that server. The only means by which they could have access to the INEC server is by the criminal hacking of the server or through the criminal conspiracy of some INEC officials.

“The APC Presidential Campaign Council hereby prays that the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of the Department of State Services use your good offices to investigate the hacking of and/or illegal tampering with the INEC server by the PDP. The leadership of the PDP must be invited, interrogated and investigated and those identified as perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted. Opposition is healthy in a democracy but it is not a license for criminality and illegality. A country governed by laws cannot be blackmailed or cowed into indolence by the perceived underdog status of the opposition so as to condone such a blatant criminal claim by the PDP of having illegal access to INEC’s server. We trust you will act with alacrity.”

There! yes, there we have it, the APC confirming the fact that there is indeed an INEC server, it is quite far fetched to say that Keyamo had not been aware that INEC had initially put out a statement to the general public that they would not be using an electronic server during the election.  The question pops up again that at some point the provision of a server must have been made available.

let us go  ahead and take a look at a report released by the International Center for Investigative Reporting(ICIR)  and perhaps from this we can actually back up the fact that it is actually possible that a server was actually used in secret in the 2019 general election and why INEC claim of no server is an absolute treachery to our political process.  Are you ready? lets investigate.

The report that ICIR had released had confirmed the alleged document obtained from Starnews that INEC had made budgetary provisions for Servers, e-collation and e-tracking of election materials, so if the servers according to them were not used, what were the funds for the servers used for?

Atiku Abubakar had alleged that he had defeated Muhammadu Buhari by 1.6 million votes from the report that he had obtained from INEC electoral server. INEC had however said that his claims were false, that they did not operate an electronic server and were not certain where he got his results from.

Atiku had in April given the the tribunal the “unique MAC address and Microsoft product ID of the INEC server” as he called it, be that as it may, let us go with what INEC has put out and indeed say there is no server, then what exactly had happened when Buhari had in July and September sent a written document to the National Assembly requesting for N242 billion as supplementary budget to make provision for funds in the 2019 general election? A sum of N189 billion had been allocated to INEC, the rest had gone to the Nigerian Police, Civil Defence and other security agencies.  If there had been no server, where did the funds go?

The National Assembly had in October approved the N242 billion supplementary budget as sent by the president—only changing the source of the funding from the legislators’ special projects votes to the Special Intervention Programme.”

According to ICIR, the supplementary budget which had been made provision for, had also provided for servers. The Policy and Legal Advocacy Center (PLAC), a non profit organization with the objective of legislative advocacy and  bringing access to public policies had made INEC supplementary budget public, and according to the document INEC had budgeted N143.5 billion on 209 items , N2.27 billion had been budgeted for server- related procurement items.

The report had said that N1.37 billion as budgeted for nationwide replacement of servers for 25 states and National Data Centre, N99.7 million for an upgrade of the server version of OpenVR for compatibility with new Dell server, and N800 million for the migration of voter registration database from MySQL Open Source to OracleDB (both database administration services).”

INEC also budgeted N157.5 million for the renewal and maintenance of cloud infrastructure, with budget code 230709

The office of the Accountant- General had reported  in its Capital Performance of the Budget that all of the amount (N188.9 billion) was released to INEC and spent by it.”

From the above report it can be deduced that the National assembly had a long term plan which had made provision for the use of electronic storage of electoral results  and an amount of over 2 billion naira had been used for the procurement and upgrade of servers. So if INEC claim there is no server, what exactly has been going on, who has been fooling who all this while.

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