Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar says the request by him and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to inspect alleged server used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for 2019 presidential election was not rejected.
Abubakar, who was the PDP presidential candidate in the Feb. 23 presidential election, said this in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe on Tuesday in Abuja.
Abubakar said that the last on the matter had not been heard by the Presidential Election Tribunal, saying we eagerly anticipate the actual ruling of the Tribunal when the case properly began.
He said that his attention had been drawn to a statement from the presidency “praising the ruling of the Tribunal,” which ‘rejected’ the request to compel INEC to grant access to their server used for the presidential election.
He quoted the statement stating that “the existence of a purported server is being contested and if a purported inspection had been allowed at this stage, it would have amounted to the determination that it indeed existed even when its existence is being contested.”
Abubakar said “what the honourable Tribunal” said was that the case was still at preliminary stages.
The court added that the main case had not begun and that the matter of granting access to inspect the INEC server was not relevant to the preliminary stages.
“It is a matter to be adjudicated upon when the case proper is being heard.”
The former vice president said that the celebration by the party was premature.
Abubakar reminded the presidency of eye witness testimony given to multiple media in interviews by staff of INEC that there was “indeed a server and that they actually submitted results and accreditation through it.”
He added that INEC in the 2019 budget had multiple line items for procurement, maintenance and service of the server it claimed did not exist.
Abubakar also reminded the presidency of the recent report of the European Union on the presidential election, saying “he who laughs last, laughs best.”
“The last has not been heard of this matter and we eagerly anticipate the actual ruling of the Tribunal when the case proper begins’’.
The petition filed by the PDP and Abubakar suffered a major hiccup on Monday as the presidential tribunal dismissed their application seeking access to inspect an alleged server belonging to INEC.
Giving ruling in the interlocutory motion, Justice Mohammed Garba, Chairman of the tribunal held that granting such application at this stage would prejudice the main petition.
Garba explained that the court was yet to keep abreast of testimonies of witnesses and documentary evidence from all parties in the matter, adding that granting the request at this stage would pre-empt the proceedings.