Presidential Election Tribunal declines Atiku’s request to inspect INEC servers

Peter Bahago, Abuja

Presidential election tribunal sitting in Abuja
Nigeria’s Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has declined the request by candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, to inspect servers owned by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The servers were said to have been used during the 2019 presidential election.

The PDP and its Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar filed a petition at the tribunal challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress Candidate, Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 Presidential poll.

The tribunal held that granting the request would mean that the tribunal had agreed a server actually existed, a claim already faulted by INEC.

In the application, the PDP claimed that it won the presidential election based on the results found in the server of the electoral umpire.

According to the PDP, data from the server of INEC showed that Mr. Atiku Abubakar scored over 18 million votes ahead of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari with about 16 million votes.

In its arguments, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, faulted the claim and stated that the results of the poll were never transmitted or collated electronically and that the issue only existed in the imagination of the PDP and its presidential candidate.

Delivering ruling on the application,  the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mohammed Garba held that the matter, being a substantive issue for determination by the tribunal, could not be determined at the interlocutory stage.

He added that doing so would pre-empt the hearing of the substantive petition that is before the presidential election tribunal.