INEC’s Server Denial & Institutionalization Of Corruption In Nigeria
By Barr. Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu
Corruption was defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as
- Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.
- The process by which a word or expression is changed from its original state to one regarded as erroneous or debased.
- The process of decay; putrefaction.
Combining the above definitions one may be right to say that “corruption” is a dishonest conduct and a process by which the words or expression of a government official changes from its original state to one regarded as erroneous.
This definition has made it clear that corruption is not only about stealing government money but also includes dishonesty, lies and fraudulent conduct. President Muhammadu Buhari on assumption of power on May 29, 2015, declared war against corruption by making anti-corruption a top priority in his government.
This presupposes that the conduct of government officers appointed by the President should be corrupt free. Anything other than that makes nonsense of the so-called anti-corruption posture of President Buhari’s administration and passes it off as hypocritical.
On the 5th of December, 2017, an online newspaper the National Accord reported that Prof. Godswill Obioma, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Residential Electoral Officer (REC) for Ebonyi State, disclosed that INEC has developed a technology that will enable it transmit results electronically.
He also stated that the technology will be used at the 2019 elections. The electronic transmission of results presumes that there is a server where such results would be stored.
Again, on the 9th of January 2019, another online newspaper Tech Point Africa also reported that the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu has revealed that the Commission would only do a nationwide pilot of electronic transmission of election results in 2019 citing reasons like lack of legal backing.
This meant that INEC would still transmit election results electronically although the Commission was yet to get legal backing for doing that.
Furthermore, on the 25th of March, 2019, Sahara Reporters reported that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has petitioned the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Department of State Service (DSS), accusing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of illegally accessing the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the petition dated March 25, 2019, and addressed to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the DSS Director General, Festus Keyamo, spokesman of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, urged the security agencies to question the leadership of the PDP on their claims relating to the INEC server.
Noting that Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, who rejected the outcome of the just-concluded presidential election, not only made “outlandish claims” in his case filed before the Elections Petition Tribunal, he also made reference to the INEC server.
Keyamo accused the PDP of hacking into the INEC server and inputting false figures. The above petition from the APC, the ruling party, also acknowledged the fact that INEC has a server in which the results of the 2019 presidential elections were stored.
However, the denial by INEC of owning a server and the purported decision of the Presidential Election Tribunal not to allow the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, inspect the INEC server is pointing to the fact that corruption has eroded the foundation of governance in Nigeria.
The sad implication of this national disaster is that, while INEC claims there is no server, the Tribunal is inadvertently admitting there is a server but it won’t grant the Petitioners access to inspect it.
This is a very big minus and a huge dent on the credibility of President Buhari’s administration. It means that Nigeria is drifting deeper in to the abyss of corruption at an unprecedented speed, and if nothing is done to redeem the Country, destruction appears imminent.
All these compelling facts constrains one to believe that there is a conscious attempt by the APC government to exert undue influence on INEC and the Judiciary in order to secure a favourable outcome in the Presidential Elections Tribunal.
This is simply institutionalizing the same corruption they pledged to fight in the country. This undue influence is what has accounted for the cacophony of denials and acceptance of the existence of the server by INEC and APC stalwarts like Festus Keyamo.
Nigeria is greater than its citizens. The All Progressives Congress (APC) should know better than that. The party’s apparent desperation to bulldoze their way in the Tribunal will end up a misadventure.
While the whole world watches George Orwell’s Animal Farm play out in Nigerian politics, President Buhari should beware of the Ides of March lest the octopus called institutional corruption becomes his Achilles heel.
Barr. Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu; email@example.com
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