A request by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, Atiku Abubakar to access a supposed central server purportedly used for the last presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been rejected by the Supreme Court.
In the appeal marked SC/815/2019, PDP and Atiku had sought to reverse the decision by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), rejecting their request to inspect the alleged server.
In a unanimous judgment on Tuesday, a five-man panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Datijo Mohammed, held that the appeal was a waste of time and without basis.
Justice Chima Nweze, who read the lead judgment, said: “I see no reason for departing from the reasoning of the lower court. I find that this appeal is without merit, and it is accordingly, dismissed.”
Other members of the panel – Justices Mohammed, Kumai Akaahs, Paul Galumje and Uwani Abba-Aji agreed with the lead judgment.
Recall that the PEPT had on June 24, 2019 dismissed an application by Atiku and the PDP requesting permission to have access to the central server, which they claimed INEC used for the February 23 poll.
The PEPT had, while dismissing the application by Atiku and the PDP, held that INEC, having denied the existence of the said server and insisted that results of the election were not electronically transmitted into any server as claimed by the petitioners (Atiku and PDP), granting the application would amount to deciding the central issue in the petition at the interlocutory stage.
The court’s Presiding Justice, Justice Mohammed Garba added that granting the application would imply 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).”
Not satisfied with the decision of June 24, Atiku and the PDP appealed at the Supreme Court, in the appeal marked SC/815/2019.