Supreme Court strikes out Atiku, PDP’s appeal to access ‘INEC Server’

THE Supreme Court on Tuesday struck out rulings on an appeal by the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, an ex-presidential candidate and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), asking for permission to access the purported Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) server.

The apex court struck out the appeal marked SC/738/2019 challenging the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Presidential election petition court had earlier denied applications of the PDP and its presidential candidate where the petitioners sought to access the INEC’s central server in the last presidential election.

The election petition tribunal also held that PDP and its candidate lack response to an application filed by the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on May 14, 2019.

The 5-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Datijo Mohammed, however, struck out the application.

He said the appeal has become statute-barred.

While Eyitayo Jegede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) stood for the appellants, Yunus Usman (SAN) represented the electoral commission; Wole Olanipekun (SAN) represented President Muhammadu Buhari and Charles Edosomwan (SAN) for the APC.

The election petition tribunal noted that since INEC denied non-existence of the claimed election server, as against claims by the PDP and its presidential candidate, granting prayers of the appellants would amount to upholding the position of the opposition party.

According to Justice Mohammed Garba, the presiding judge who read the ruling, granting the application would mean 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).”

Festus Keyamo, a lawyer and human rights activists on March challenged the Department of State Security (DSS) and the police to investigate the PDP claims on the server.

In June, the PDP and Atiku prayed the presidential election tribunal to allow them access the server but the electoral commission insists there was no server anywhere.

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