In the last few days, Social media has been awash with claims that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it does not have a server.
Question: Did the INEC Really say it doesn’t have a server?
Check: the Peoples Democratic Party (Party) and it’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar claimed that the results they obtained from INEC server indicated that Mr. Abubakar won the poll with over six million votes margin.
Through their lawyers led by Levy Uzoukwu, the PDP and Mr. Abubakar asked the tribunal to compel INEC to grant them access to the server and smart card readers used in the conduct of the election.
But counsel representing INEC, Yunus Usman, in a counter affidavit said, “They are asking us to bring something we do not have.”
Fact: Does this necessarily mean that INEC doesn’t have a server?
Sadly, the response by INEC’s Legal team has been misconstrued to mean a blanket denial that the Commission has no servers at all.
Fact Check: The Atiku legal team had approached the tribunal asking it to grant it permission to access the results in the INEC Server, to which INEC said it doesn’t have such results.
Claim: “The PDP and its candidate claim that the Server from which the said figures were derived belong to the first Respondent (INEC). The figures and votes were transmitted to the first Respondent’s Presidential Result’s Server 1 and thereafter aggregated in INEC_PRES_RSLT_SRV2019, whose Physical Address or unique Mac Address is 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9 with Microsoft Product ID 00252-7000000000-AA535. The above descriptions are unique to the first Respondent’s Server.”
Recall: INEC had in January ruled out the electronic transmission of results for the 2019 General elections.
“We have a Bill for the amendment of the electoral law before the National Assembly. We have to conduct the elections in accordance with the provisions of the existing law. If the National Assembly amends the law, then we can act accordingly. We cannot act outside the law,” Festus Okoye had said during a media briefing on February 4, 2019.
The onus now lies on the petitioners to prove their allusion and establish their claim that the 2019 General Elections results were transmitted electronically.
In a nutshell, INEC may have a server but did not transmit results to that server, neither manually nor electronically.