The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said contrary to insinuations, it only transmitted results, electronically, during Anambra and Osun governorship elections and not during the 2019 general election.
According to INEC, although the server exists, it was not deployed during the general election which held between February and March, this year.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, are at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the February 23 presidential election.
In Osun State, yesterday, INEC National Commissioner, Solomon Soyebi, explained how the electoral body was forced to drop the idea of electronic transmission of the results to a central server.
He insisted that the Commission only experimented with the technology during some staggered elections in 2018. INEC reiterated that the clarification became necessary because of rising controversies on the transmission of the presidential election results from states to the INEC server.
Speaking during the Post Election Retreat organised by the Commission for its staff and ad-hoc staff engaged for the last general election in Osun, Soyebi added that INEC experimented with electronic transmission of results during Anambra, Sokoto and Osun elections held before 2019 elections but the Commission did not sustain the use of the technology during the general election.
He maintained that the late release of INEC’S budget for the 2019 elections and controversies over the Electoral Act, among others reasons, forced the Commission to jettison the idea of using the technology to transmit results to the central server.
“We piloted the use of transmission of election results electronically in Sokoto, in Anambra, even in Osun. What happened was that we were trying to pilot to see the desirability of such technology in our electoral process.
“First, our budget came out very late, there was also issue (with) the Electoral Act. For these and some other reasons, the Commission did not adopt that option. 2019 elections were conducted according to Law.
“We used the Constitution of the Federal Republic, we used the Electoral Act and our guidelines for 2019 elections. If you look at the three instruments carefully, the issue of server was not highlighted.
“Once in a while, you will see an experiment going on but we have to pilot it before we will deploy wholesale for election. We did not use it because of circumstances beyond the control of the Commission,” Soyebi said.
Earlier, Osun Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Segun Agbaje, said the 2019 elections were largely successful; despite daunting challenges that characterised its conduct.
He, however, lamented the ”do-or-die” attitude of some politicians which involved different illicit practices, including use of thugs to win an election at all cost. He added that the Commission in collaboration with security agents in the state drastically reduced the phenomenon during the general elections.