Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Supreme Court dismissed two appeals filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging two major decisions of the Presidential
Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, yesterday.
But in his reaction, Atiku said there is no cause for alarm over the Supreme Court’s ruling dismissing his claims to inspect INEC server.
Atiku, who addressed a news conference through his lead counsel, Eyitayo Jegede SAN, after the proceedings, said the decision was anticipated and that proactive action had been taken during the hearing of the petition.
“There is no cause for alarm in the decision of the apex court as it relates to our petition at the tribunal.
“The issue of server was aimed at establishing that the election was rigged during the collation of results and this was thoroughly addressed through witnesses and documents tendered and admitted during the presentation of the petition.”
He expressed optimism that the tribunal would do justice at the end of the day.
The petitioners had approached the apex court to set aside the decision of the tribunal which barred them from inspecting an alleged central server used in the country’s Feb.23 presidential election.
They had also invited the apex court to compel the tribunal to reopen argument on an application filed by the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) that sought for expunge of some portions of the petition.
Giving ruling in the appeal, Justice Centus Nweze, held that setting aside the decision of the tribunal on the matter would amount to pre-empting the substantial case.
Nweze said that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-man panel was right to stop the move by the petitioners to inspect the acclaimed central server allegedly managed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The judge held that: “The decision of the tribunal to prevent the inspection of the alleged server was apt and we do not have to set it aside at the point. The appeal has no merit and it hereby dismissed.’’
Ruling on the appeal seeking for the re-opening of argument on the motion filed by APC for the tribunal to expunge some portions of the petition, Nweze held that the action was statute barred and went ahead to dismiss it also.
NAN recalls that the petitioners had insisted that the “central server” was allegedly used by INEC to warehouse electronically transmitted results in the election.
The petitioners had approached the apex court to set aside the June 24, decision of the tribunal.
Atiku’s counsel, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, had pleaded with the court to set aside the decision of the presidential election petition tribunal which refused to compel INEC to allow him access to the central server alleged used in the conduct of the presidential poll.
He said access to the INEC’s central server was germane to his client’s petition, adding that the court should order the electoral body to allow access to the database forthwith.
However, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, counsel to President Muhammadu Buhari, asked the court to turn down the request and to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that the appeal had become academic.
Olanipekun drew the attention of the court to the fact that the life of the appeal would expire on Aug. 21, adding that granting the request would no longer serve any purpose.