The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate for February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar, have vowed to challenge Tribunal’s decision on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s server at the Supreme Court.
Vanguard reports that Abubakar and his party said the Electoral Act empowers the tribunal to grant access such as INEC’s server to the petitioners in order to institute and maintain a petition.
Legit.ng gathered that a senior member of the petitioners’ legal team, Chris Uche, SAN, noted that they would approach Supreme Court to seek nullification of tribunal’s verdict.
He said: “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.”
Speaking on the the tribunal’s ruling, the INEC’s lawyer, Usman Uztaz, SAN, said it was satisfied with the ruling.
He said: “These are issues to be tried during the hearing, you cannot try them in piecemeal. The electoral body had challenged the request, arguing that contrary to position of the petitioners, it did not electronically transmit results of the presidential election into any central server.
”The commission told the tribunal that it was not empowered by the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, to embark on electronic transmission of results. While denouncing what it described as details of “a strange server” that was provided by the petitioners, INEC, maintained that the result it declared in President Buhari’s favour, “was a true reflection of what was collated.”
President Buhari, through his team of lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, as well as counsel to the APC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, also urged the tribunal to reject the application they said was based “on speculation and conjectures.”
President Buhari argued that he was validly re-elected, having secured the majority of lawful votes cast.
Meanwhile, in another ruling on Monday, the tribunal, granted President Buhari’s request to be allowed to amend his reply to the petition against him.
In a unanimous ruling, the panel held that allowing President Buhari’s prayer would not affect the merit or otherwise of issues the petitioners raised against the outcome of the presidential poll.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to inspect smart card readers and the server for the 2019 presidential election was declined by the presidential election petitions tribunal.