Andrew Orolua, Abuja
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) sitting in Abuja, on Monday declined to grant Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) permission to inspect Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) central server and data which the petitioners claimed was used in collating the February 23 , presidential election.
The two petitioners have specifically filed the motion for an order of tribunal granting access to inspect the server and data of smart card reader used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of the election.
In a unanimous ruling on the application this morning , Chairman of the panel , Justice Mohammed Garba said that the parties to the petition have joined issues on whether INEC have a server or a data based in their substantive briefs of arguments therefore it is premature to determine and rule upon a substantive matter at this preliminary stage.
“The court can not decide the substantive issue at this preliminary stage . I decline to grant the application filed by the petitioners on May 8, 2019”, he ruled. Other members of the tribunal agreed with the ruling.
Recalled that moving the motion for inspection of INEC server and other electoral materials, on June 13 one of the lead counsel to Atiku and the PDP, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), had said the request was essential to their petition challenging the return of President Muhammadu Buhari at the election.
Petitioners had in their petition stated that by figures obtained from INEC’s server, they and not Buhari and the third respondent, All Progressives Congress (APC) won the presidential election held on February 23 this year.