2019 election results to be collated, transmitted electronically, says INEC in 2017

June 17, 2019

4.4 min readCategories: News

About four months after President Muhammadu Buhari was declared the winner of the 2019 presidential election, controversy continues to trail the election process.

Mr Buhari was declared the winner of the February 23, 2019, general election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) having scored highest votes of 15,191,847 to defeat his closest rival, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 11,262,978 votes.

Mr Abubakar and his party rejected the results saying they were manipulated. They argued that the results being announced do not tally with what the party collated across the country.

The opposition candidate also claimed that results from INEC’s computer database or ‘server’ did not tally with what the electoral commission announced. He presented some results which he claimed were from INEC’s server and showed that he won the election. He told the tribunal that he would engage experts from Microsoft, IBM and Oracle to verify his claim.

However, in its defence on June 13, INEC told the election tribunal that it had no central server where results were uploaded.

The commission’s lawyer, Yunus Usman, in a counter affidavit responding to Mr Abubakar’s plea, asking the tribunal to compel INEC to grant them access to the server and smart card readers used in the conduct of the election, said INEC did not have any server.

“They are asking us to bring something we do not have,” Mr Usman said.

Without going into the merit of whether or not INEC has a server, PREMIUM TIMES reproduces a 2017 story where INEC told Nigerians that the 2019 election results would be stored in a central server.

“INEC has therefore decided to securely transmit results from all polling units to central database such that only viewing access is allowed at the wards and local government levels – which ultimately eliminates manual collation processes,” INEC’s Director of Information and Communication Technology, Chidi Nwafor, said then.

Read the news story by Premium Times on what INEC said about server in March 20, 2017.

“2019 election results to be collated, transmitted electronically” – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission has unveiled an electronic collation and results transmission system with a view to eliminating manual collation which the commission says enables malpractices.

INEC’s Director of Information and Communication Technology, Chidi Nwafor, disclosed the development on Thursday during a media parley chaired by the commission’s chief, Mahmood Yakubu, in Abuja.

In his presentation centred on deployment of technology and innovations to drive Nigeria’s electoral system ahead of the 2019 general elections, Mr. Nwafor highlighted the weakness of current collation system which involves manual transmission of results sheets from one stage to the next up to the point of final collation in the course of which malpractices are perpetrated.

“Observations have shown that most election malpractices that take place do not take place at polling units,” said Mr. Nwafor, a fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers who supervised the deployment of permanent voters’ cards and smart readers for the 2015 elections.

He said it was barely possible to “rig” at polling units where everybody participates in the process of counting of ballot papers and recording of scores.

‘The challenge has been after the poll – between the polling units and the collation centres and at the collation centre.

“INEC has therefore decided to securely transmit results from all polling units to central database such that only viewing access is allowed at the wards and local government levels – which ultimately eliminates manual collation processes.”

The new e-collation system has four procedures, namely:

Results from polling units will be entered into the e-collation application on the smart card reader;

Results are transmitted to a central server;

Results are auto-collated and can be viewed at the RAs (wards) and ECA8s can be scanned at that level; and

Result audit and confirmation takes place at collation centres at LGAs, state and national level.

Mr. Nwafor said the new system could be used for all elections, from local council polls which INEC conducts in the Federal Capital Territory to the presidential election.

He added that the system had “a flexible dashboard to with a real-time user interface showing graphical presentation of status of results collated per given time.”

It is expected that the e-collation system further improves the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process, as did PVC and smart card reader when deployed for the 2015 elections, reputed as the most credible since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

INEC said the new system would be first deployed for the November 2017 Anambra State governorship election as pilot phase.

“INEC is preparing for the 2019 elections and is further deploying technology to improve its service delivery and make its processes less prone to manipulations,” said Mr. Nwafor.

At the media parley, the chairman of the commission, Mr. Yakubu said the commission had been meeting with security, intelligence and military agencies to improve security of elections in Nigeria.

INEC’s last outing in Rivers States was widely condemned for widespread violence and malpractices, which ensured the commission had to wait till February 26 before concluding an exercise that started on December 10 of the previous year.

But Mr. Yakubu said 29 staff suspected to have been involved in the misconducts during the Rivers polls had been interdicted pending the outcome of investigation and prosecution by the police.

Credit: The Premium

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