Emerging report revealed that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, received N1.47 billion, to replace and maintain computer servers, for use during the 2019 general elections.
These finding raised fresh concerns over the Commission’s recent claim, that it had no server for the 2019 elections.
Details of INEC’s budget for the 2019 elections, and the spending plan, show that the Electoral body collected from the Federal Government, N1.47 billion for servers. The Commission requested N2.27 billion.
It is not clear whether these servers were used for the elections, or whether election results were transmitted electronically to the servers, however. INEC insisted that it did not send results electronically to a server, but some ad hoc staff used during the polls, have claimed that they were instructed to send the results to a “central server”.
A Spokesperson for the Commission, Festus Okoye, disclosed that the budget for servers was made in anticipation, that Buhari will sign the amended Electoral Act, to allow electronic transfer of voting results.
He stated that the Commission will at the appropriate time, explain to Nigerians how it expended the money it got for servers, and the entire huge N143.5 billion budget, it got for the polls.
He stated that the Commission will at the appropriate time, explain to Nigerians how it expended the money it got for servers, and the entire huge N143.5 billion budget it got for the polls.
Meanwhile, a civil society group, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement, YIAGA, said that its Observers saw Polling Officers ‘attempting’ to transmit results electronically, in 65 percent (961 of 1489) of polling units observed on the Presidential election day.
After the postponement of the election by a week, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, said that the Commission made provisions for a central collation server.
“…The fact is that I am aware that at the polling unit, the same result is there, the duplicate has been given to the party Agents, and transmitted to the central server. Without talking to me, both of you have the result”, the Official said during a Channels TV programme, which aired on February 18.
While it is not clear what servers INEC says it does not have, the budget details published by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, a civil society group, showed that INEC allocated N2.27 billion for servers, from the N143.5 billion, approved for the Commission.
Another N157.5 million was budgeted for the renewal and maintenance of cloud infrastructure.
It was reported last August, how the National Assembly Joint Committee on INEC, approved N143.5 billion for INEC, for the 2019 general elections as requested by the President.
A breakdown of the budget for servers in the N143.5 billion, is as follows:
1. N1.37 billion, budgeted for nationwide replacement of servers for 25 States and National Data Centre.
2. N99.7 million, budgeted for an upgrade of the server version of OpenVR, for compatibility with new Dell server.
3. N157.5 million, budgeted for the renewal and maintenance of cloud infrastructure.