The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s main opposition party and its Presidential candidate in the 2019 Presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, have said they will challenge the dismissal of their application to be granted access to inspect the central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
It would be recalled that the former Vice President and his party had prayed the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to grant them access to inspect the central server allegedly used by INEC to transmit results during the 2019 general elections.
But at the resumption of the hearing on Monday, June 24, Tribunal in a unanimous decision, ruled that the request could not be granted since the issue of whether such central server existed or not, is already a subject of controversy in the substantive petition that is challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.
Reacting to the Tribunal’s ruling, Chris Uche (SAN), a senior member of the Atiku and PDP’s legal team, told Journalists: “The nation was looking forward to this ruling and it is one that is very pivotal to this matter.
“The Electoral Act itself empowers the tribunal to grant access such as this to the petitioners in order to institute and maintain a petition, and that is what we are asking for.
“Somehow, at this stage, the court has ruled. But definitely, this is a matter we want to take higher to the Supreme Court to challenge this ruling because we strongly feel that section 151 of the Electoral Act entitles us to have access to these materials,” he added.
Also reacting, INEC, through its lawyer, Usman Uztaz (SAN), said it was satisfied with the ruling.
“These are issues to be tried during the hearing, you cannot try them in piecemeal”, INEC’s lawyer told journalists.