Supreme Court Set To Rule On PDP/Atiku Appeal
The Supreme Court iset to rule on an appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the last presidential election seeking access into a a supposed server owned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The apex court suspended proceedings to rule on the appeal which was dismissed by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) on June 24, 2019.
The court’s Presiding Justice, Justice Mohammed Garba, while reading the ruling, noted that granting the application would imply that the court had “indeed recognised and found out that there is a central server into which results of the held on February 23, 2019 were electronically transmitted by the 1st respondent (INEC).”
The application was filed by Atiku and the PDP requesting permission to have access to the central server, which they claimed INEC used for the February 23 poll.
INEC had denied the existence of the said server and insisted that results of the election were not electronically transmitted into any server as claimed by the petitioners (Atiku and PDP),
A five-man panel of the Supreme Court (led by Justice Datijo Mohammed after taking arguments from Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, (for the appellants); Yunus Usman, SAN, (for INEC); Wole Olanipekun, SAN, (for President Muhammadu Buhari) and Charles Edosomwan, SAN, (for the All Progressives Congress), rose briefly to consider the arguments and return for its decision.
Leading the petitioners’ argument in their appeal challenging the June 24, 2019 ruling of the tribunal, on Tuesday, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), told the apex court that his clients were still within time to access the server and make use of the evidence to be extracted from it.
He said the 180 days meant for the tribunal to hear and determine the case had not lapsed.
But the respondents, INEC, President Buhari and APC opposed the appeal through their respective lawyers and urged the apex court to dismiss it.
After hearing arguments seeking access to INEC’s sever by Atiku/PDP on Tuesday, Justice Muhammad-led panel will return later to deliver its ruling.
They are by their petition before the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-man Presidential Election Petition Tribunal challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the February 23, 2019 election.
They alleged in their petition that the “authentic” results of the February 23, 2019 election which gave them victory were stored in the said INEC server.
But the tribunal had on June 24, 2019, during the pre-hearing session on the petition, dismissed their application for permission to be allowed access to the server, which INEC had denied its existence.
The tribunal, in dismissing the petitioners’ application, held that granting the request would amount to pre-judging the main issue that was meant t be trashed at the substantive hearing in the case.
The tribunal fixed Wednesday for final arguments in the case.