…Says APC jubilation is premature .Obi describes ruling as unfortunate
Tunde Opalana, Abuja
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 poll, Atiku Abubakar, has cautioned the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to roll out the drums yet over the ruling of the Presidential election Appeal Tribunal on request by he and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to inspect the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Atiku warned against misinterpretation of the ruling while insisting that the tribunal has not rejected PDP’s request.
The former vice president was reacting to a statement by a spokesperson for President Muhammadu Buhari who praised the ruling of the tribunal, which ‘rejected’ the request by Atiku and the PDP to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission to grant access to its server used for the 2019 presidential election.
Atiku’s media adviser, Paul Ibe, in a statement titled: “He who laughs last, laughs best,” said “after praising the so-called landmark ruling, the existence of a purported server is being contested and if a purported inspection had been allowed at this stage, it would have amounted to the determination that it indeed existed even when its existence is being contested.”
“Our response is to plead vindication of our case that not only did Atiku Abubakar win the February 23, 2019 election, but that the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari lacks executive temperament and capacity as we will now establish.
“Let us educate the spokespersons of President Muhammadu Buhari on what yesterday’s (Monday’s) judgment actually says. The request by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party to inspect the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission was not rejected.
“What the honourable Tribunal said is that it is still at preliminary stages and the main case HAS NOT begun and that the matter of granting access to inspect the INEC server is not relevant to the preliminary stages. It is a matter to be adjudicated upon when the case proper is being heard.
“As such, the celebration by the administration of General Buhari that their electoral heist has been covered is premature.
Their giddiness has even blinded them to the eye witness testimony given to multiple media in interviews by staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission that there is indeed a server and that they actually submitted results and accreditation through it.”
He said in its rush to claim a Pyrrhic victory, the Buhari administration missed out the fact that the 2019 budget has multiple line items for procurement, maintenance and service of the server it claim does not exist.
The PDP candidate further stated that the statement by Garba Shehu tried to spin the recent verdict on the election passed by the EU election observers.
“For the avoidance of doubt, what the EU report said is that the 2019 elections had significant defects and fell short of the 2019 elections. It should be noted that one of the issues they raised is the attempt to muzzle not just the media, but more importantly, the judiciary.
“In the light of this, we remind those who are gloating in their ignorance that ‘he who laughs last, laughs best’.
“The last has not been heard of this matter and we eagerly anticipate the actual ruling of the Tribunal when the case proper begins,” said Atiku.
Meanwhile, the Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) in February 23 Presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi. has reacted to Monday`s Presidential Election tribunal’s rejection of PDP legal team request to inspect the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, describing the commission’s behaviour as unfortunate.
Obi, who was in court on Monday, told journalists that he has always respected the ruling of courts even where it’s not favourable, but find it shocking that in this day and age, INEC that is supposed to be an independent umpire of an election, will argue against subjecting itself to scrutiny.
He said ordinary referees in a football match subject themselves to Video Assisted Referee (VAR) and even go further to visit it to enable them make more informed decisions.
Obi noted that with the development, it would be extremely difficult for INEC to convince any discerning mind that it set out to conduct a free and fair poll when it takes strange positions that clearly show otherwise to critical members of the public.
The former governor of Anambra State said the situation is particularly more worrisome that it is coming at a time most of the international bodies that monitored the election are giving it low mark.