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Buhari vs. Atiku: Tribunal rejects request to inspect INEC’s server

THE Presidential Election Tribunal has rejected the request made by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Atiku Abubakar, its presidential candidate, to inspect the electronic server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) used for the 2019 presidential election.

In a ruling on Monday, the five-man panel unanimously dismissed the application, stating that the tribunal could not delve into the server issues at the interlocutory stage of the sitting, ChannelsTV reported.

The panel headed by Mohammed Garba said that the request was dismissed because issues have been joined by parties on the existence or otherwise of the servers.

Atiku and the PDP, through their lawyers led by Levy Uzoukwu, have prayed the court to order INEC to grant them access to scrutinise the electronics server and the smart card readers used during the February 23 election.

However, INEC through its counsel, Yunus Usman told the tribunal on June 13 to dismiss the application. He said the electoral umpire did not adopt electronic transmission for the collation of results.

“They are asking us to bring something we do not have,” Usman had denied the existence of server.

But a fact-check  by The ICIR revealed that INEC actually included in its budget, money for procurement and upgrade of servers. The over two billion naira was approved for INEC, and its utilisation has been reported in the document obtained from the budget office. Besides the budgetary report, some of the INEC top officials in different interviews before the election acknowledged the existence of the election server.

Atiku and his party’s petition to the tribunal claimed that he won the 2019 presidential election. The petition noted that Atiku defeated Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress by 1.6 million votes. This claim, PDP said, was retrieved from INEC server.

With the purported server’ result, Atiku said he won with 18,356,732 votes against 16,741,430 votes of Buhari. But the result of the manual collation announced by INEC on February 27 declared Buhari the winner after securing a total of  15,191,847 votes against Abubakar’s 11, 262,978 votes.

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