The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) received N1.47 billion to replace and maintain computer servers for use during the 2019 general elections, PREMIUM TIMES has confirmed.
It is not clear though how the servers, which store computer data, were used during the polls. But the finding raises fresh concerns over the commission’s recent claim it had no server for the elections.
Determining whether the commission operated a central computer database that received election results has become central to the 2019 presidential election dispute, after former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said results on the server proved he defeated President Muhammadu Buhari.
The electoral commission declared Mr Buhari winner of the February 16 election, but Mr Abubakar, his main challenger, has rejected the decision, saying his win was suppressed by INEC.
The electrocal commission, INEC, has disputed Mr Abubakar’s claims, and has denied transmitting election results electronically or saving them on a server.
PREMIUM TIMES has seen details of INEC’s budget for the 2019 elections, and the spending plan shows 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. INEC insists it did not send results electronically to a server, but some ad hoc staff used during the polls have claimed they were instructed to send the results to a “central server”.
A spokesperson for the commission, Festus Okoye, told PREMIUM TIMES the budget for servers was made in anticipation that President Buhari would sign the amended Electoral Act to allow electronic transfer of voting results.