Thursday, June 17, 2021

UPDATED: Tribunal dashes Atiku, PDP’s hope of inspecting INEC server, dismisses application


Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Monday dismissed the application filed by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seeking to inspect INEC server allegedly used in collating results for the February 23 presidential election.

NAN reports that Justice Mohammed Garba, Chairman of the panel, held that granting such application at this interlocutory stage would pre-empt the substantive petition.

The petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar suffered a major hiccup on Monday as the presidential tribunal dismissed their application seeking access to inspect an alleged server belonging to INEC.

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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.

Mr 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.

NAN reports that Dr Levi Uzoukwu SAN, Counsel for the petitioners/applicants, in an interlocutory application, urged the tribunal to grant his clients access to inspect the server used for the general election.

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Mr Uzoukwu had submitted that the application relied on Section 151 of the Electoral Act which mandated the electoral body to allow candidates who contested an election organized by it to inspect the electoral materials.

Meanwhile, the application was objected to by Yunus Usman SAN, Counsel for INEC, as according to him, the electoral body did not use or maintain server in the Feb.23 general election.

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Wole Olanipekun SAN, Counsel for President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Lateef Fagbemi SAN, Counsel for All Progressive Congress, APC, also raised objections against granting the application.

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Chris Uche SAN, co-counsel for the applicants (Atiku and PDP), while speaking with newsmen after the session said the decision of the tribunal would be challenged at the Supreme Court.

Mr Uche said his clients had relied on Section 151 of the Electoral Act to file the application, adding that the provision mandated INEC to allow candidates access to its materials for inspection when the need arose.

NAN reports that the chairman of the panel  adjourned the matter until June 26 for continuation of hearing.

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