PDP/Atiku Heads To Supreme Court Over INEC Server
The Peoples Democratic Party [PDP], and its presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has vowed to challenge the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal dismissing their application to be granted access to inspect the central server allegedly used by the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] to transmit results during the said election at the Supreme Court.
ElombahNews, on Monday, reported that the Tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba refused the application of PDP/Atiku to inspect INEC server.
PDP/Atiku had claimed that INEC used the server to electronically transmit results of the last presidential election.
In a unanimous ruling on Monday, the five-man tribunal panel led by Justice Mohammed Garba, said that granting the petitioners’ request to inspect a server, which INEC said does not exist, will amount to the tribunal agreeing that a server actually exists.
The tribunal noted that parties to the petition by Atiku and PDP were disputing the existence or otherwise of an INEC central server.
It said, therefore, that it will be wrong for it to grant the petitioners’ request to inspect a server, whose existence, usage or otherwise is under dispute.
Reacting to the Tribunal’s ruling, a senior member of the Atiku and PDP’s legal team, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, told Journalists:
“The nation was looking forward to this ruling and it is one that is very pivotal to this matter.
“The Electoral Act itself empowers the tribunal to grant access such as this to the petitioners in order to institute and maintain a petition, and that is what we are asking for.
“Somehow, at this stage, the court has ruled.
“But definitely this is a matter we want to take higher to the Supreme Court to challenge this ruling because we strongly feel that section 151 of the Electoral Act entitles us to have access to these materials.”
On its part, INEC, through its lawyer, Mr. Usman Uztaz, SAN, said it was satisfied with the ruling.
“These are issues to be tried during the hearing, you cannot try them in piecemeal”, INEC’s lawyer told newsmen.
The presidency has also hailed the ruling a “triumph of justice over propaganda”.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu disclosed this in a State House press release.
Mallam Shehu stated:
“What this means is that Justice and fair hearing through due contest by the parties of a major issue for determination remains sacrosanct and remains considerable by the tribunal upon according parties just and fair hearing and not the other way round.”
He added that “President Muhammadu Buhari won with a majority of four million votes and because only real votes matter, INEC announced him as the winner of the 2019 presidential election.”
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