The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has dismissed the application filed by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seeking to inspect the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) allegedly used in collating results for the Feb. 23 general election.
Africa News24 (AN24) reports that the Chairman of the panel, Justice Mohammed Garba, on Monday, June 24, held that granting such application at this interlocutory stage would preempt the substantive petition.
The development is coming after the PDP presidential candidate had alleged that results from INEC server showed that he won the election, a claim which the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria’s ruling party condemned strongly.
In response, INEC dismissed Abuabakar’s claim, saying the results he paraded were fabricated.
To back up his claim, the PDP presidential candidate said he was willing to engage experts from Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle to verify his claim.
Abubakar and the PDP had said INEC pulled down the results from its server and replaced it with a doctored one to favour President Muhammadu Buhari.
AN24 recalls that the commission had said figures from the 36 states and federal capital territory (FCT) gave Buhari 15,191,847 votes, while Atiku came second with 11,262,978 votes.
Challenging the results at the election tribunal in his 139-page petition, the PDP Presidential candidate said the results from INEC server showed he polled 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari who had 16,741,430 votes.
The former Vice President and his party at the resumption of the tribunal on Thursday, June 13, prayed the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to order INEC to grant them permission to inspect the commission’s saver.
However, Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN), the Counsel to INEC, in response, urged the Presidential Elections Petitions Tribunal to strike out the application of the PDP and Abubakar, adding that: “They are asking us to bring something we don’t have.”
Similarly, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the counsel to President Muhammadu Buhari and that of APC, Lateef Fagnemi (SAN), asked the court to dismiss the application for failing to disclose the existence of the server.