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Tribunal Declines Atiku’s Application to Access INEC Server



By Ganiyu Nasirudeen

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the last general elections, Atiku Abubakar Monday failed to secure an order of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to allow him and his party have access to the the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) server.

The Presidential poll held Saturday, February 23, 2019.  Atiku and the PDP are challenging the result by the INEC, which declared President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner.

The Justice Mohammed Garba-led bench of five judges, in a unanimous ruling, upheld the separation objections by the three respondents to the petitioners’ application.

The respondents included: the INEC, Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

In its ruling, the panel held that granting Atiku’s application would amount to pre-judging the main issue meant for trial during the substantive hearing of the petition.

Justice Garba, who delivered the lead ruling of the tribunal, held that INEC, having denied the existence of the said server and insisted that results of the election were not electronically transmitted into any server as alleged by the petitioners, granting such an application would signify that the central issue in the petition has been decided at the interlocutory stage.

The Jurist declared: “This will be unpalatable’’.

Justice Garba held the court “indeed recognized and found out that there is a central server into which results of the February 23, 2019 were electronically transmitted by the 1st respondent (INEC)”.

He added that the Supreme Court had on several occasions warned judges to desist from “making observations, comments or pronouncements in its rulings with any likely effect of prejudging the main issue that can be regarded as the issue to be tried in the course of trial.”

INEC had on February 28, declared Buhari as the winner with a total of 15,191, 847 votes while the first runner’s up (Atiku) polled 11, 262, 978 votes.

However, Atiku after some days and later in his petition alleged that he polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat President Buhari whom he alleged scored 16,741,430 votes.

 

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