Jun 17, 2019

The Nigerian Presidential Election 2019: A Web Server is Not the Heart of God

A Web Server (illustration)

As is often the tradition in Nigerian, a candidate in an election hardly accepts defeat. Well, one cannot blame him; most elections in Nigeria have often lacked transparency. That is not to say that there aren’t cases of electoral transparency. It’s just that they are few and scattered far apart in time that one can make a blanket statement that the system is replete with fraud and hazy as result. 

Thus, it is just tradition that the main candidate of the opposition in the 2019 Nigerian Presidential Election, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, refused to accept defeat. Thus, he went to court and the issue of the inspection of INEC’s server for the possible proof of his assertion became front-page news. Each time one tunes to a radio station, the word “server” is heard flying to and fro. But the most important thing one picks is that people seem to believe a server is the heart of God, where the truth cannot be erazed. So, I thought I should clarify the issue of server so people understand it.   

What is a server? A server, in the context of the internet, is a storage device that is online 24/7. Those who own such servers are called webhosts. If you have a website and want it online so people can see the information on the internet, you upload the website onto a server. Sometimes, the information is accessible to the public. Sometimes, it is not. 

But what is important that people should note is that the information on a server is prepared and uploaded by people. If INEC has a server, it means that it prepares its information and then uploads it to the server. If it decides that there is a piece of info that needs to be modified, it can modify it. 

As a web designer, I design a website and then upload the information into server belonging to my webhost. When that is done, there are two copies of the website: one in my computer and the other on the server of my webhost, online. If I decide that I want something changed on the website online, I make that modification on the version of the website in my computer and then upload it and instruct the server to effect the changes. The changes can be removal or addition. Sometimes, when your computer crashes and I lose the copy of the site in it, all I need to do is to connect online with my new computer and download a copy. 

So, if INEC is backing Mr President in Aso Rock, all it needs to do is to effect changes on the information online to support the lies they have told Nigerians. However, even when information on a server is deleted, there are experts who can still fetch the information if they can lay their hands on the server. Thus, the court will require an independent expert to examine the server.

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