CLAIMS: PDP and Atiku Abubakar claim that there was an electoral server which contains accurate figures of the 2019 presidential figures. Another social media user claims that over 2 billion naira was budgeted for this server.
CONCLUSION: Although we cannot authoritatively say that there was no server, we can confirm that A LOT OF MONEY (over 2 billion naira) was budgeted for a server.
The emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari for second term has led to different controversies.
Mr. Buhari was declared the winner of the 2019 general election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), having scored a total of 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 11,262,978 votes.
Mr. Abubakar and his party, PDP, rejected the results claiming that the votes were manipulated. According to PDP, the results from INEC does not tally with what the party had collated from polling units across the country.
In a petition filed before the presidential election tribunal, Mr Abubakar claims that according to data from “INEC’s server” which contains the “original result”, he defeated President Buhari with 1,615,302 votes.
While the APC and INEC denied the claim, the former vice president released so-called evidence to back up his claim. To further buttress his point, Mr Abubakar confirmed that he will be willing to engage experts from Microsoft, IBM and Oracle to verify his claim.
Again, on June 13 in court, INEC denied having a server where the results of the February 23 presidential election were uploaded. The commission’s lawyer, Yunus Usman, in a counter affidavit said INEC did not have any server.
“They are asking us to bring something we do not have,” Mr Usman was quoted.
However, INEC’s counsel revelation has got many Nigerians wondering if truly the Commission did not have any server despite including it their budget.
Dubawa first contacted INEC’s spokesman, for the verification of this claim but calls, emails and text messages were not responded to. Nevertheless, Dubawa carried out an independent check on the claim.
From information obtained, we discovered that on July 17, 2018, Nigeria’s president, Mr Buhari, in letter titled ‘Request for virement and supplementary 2018 budget,’ urged the lawmakers to remove projects earlier inserted into the budget and replace them with priority projects as contained in the original bill.
Contained in the letter is the supplementary budget of N242 billion to fund six agencies in the 2019 general election.
“Of the total sum, N164 billion (N164,104,792,065) will be drawn from the 2018 supplementary budget while N78 billion (N78,314,530,535) will form part of the 2019 budget of these agencies.”
Out of this amount, N189 billion was allocated to INEC.
Investigation revealed that in October 2018, a total of N189 billion was allocated to INEC while N53 billion was for the security agencies. Bringing the total to N242 billion as requested earlier by Mr. Buhari.
INEC DID GET MONEY FOR A SERVER!
In a document Dubawa obtained from the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), a nonprofit committed to facilitating legislative advocacy and access to public policies, the electoral body, INEC made a proposal to spend N143.5 billion for the election.
We discovered that out of this money, it allocated the sum of N2.27 billion (2,267,600,000) for a server with the budget code 230808 and N157.5 million was budgeted for the renewal and maintenance of cloud infrastructure with the budget code 230709.
The breakdown of the funds are 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. N800 million budgeted for the migration of voter registration database from MySQL Open Source to OracleDB
4. N157.5 million budgeted for the renewal and maintenance of cloud infrastructure.
INEC’s proposed budget was fully passed and fully funded according to the report of “Capital Performance of the Budget” from the office of the Accountant General.
OUR CONCLUSION? YES, money was released for the INEC server but it is not clear if there actually existed a server or why one does not exist!