Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has appealed the ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) on their request to access the Central Server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Naija Buzz News had few days ago reported how the Justice Mohammed Garba led PEPT in a unanimous judgment rejected Atiku’s request to access the alleged INEC server.
Atiku’s lawyers Chris Uche (SAN) and Mike Ozekhome (SAN) following the PEPT ruling vowed that they would approach the Supreme Court to overrule the judgment of the Tribunal.
They filed the appeal at the apex court two days after the ruling of the Tribunal.
Atiku and his party, PDP, had alleged that he is the true winner of the February 23 presidential election based on the results obtained from the server of INEC. He noted that the server result showed that he scored 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari who scored 16,741,430 votes.
INEC however denied the claim, saying that it had no server and did not transmit election results electronically because collation was only done manually.
Naija Buzz News however reported how some Polling Officers who worked for INEC in the general elections revealed that they transmitted results electronically to a central server as instructed by the electoral umpire.
Few days after the poll in February, INEC declared President Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), winner of the election having scored 15,191,847 votes to defeat Atiku who scored 11,262,978 votes. He was sworn-in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 29 alongside his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Atiku’s lawyers after the PEPT ruling noted that the Tribunal had denied them fair hearing by preventing them from accessing the necessary relevant evidence which they were based on Section 151(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 are entitled to, saying that the Tribunal failed to exercise its discretion judiciously and judicially.
“The learned Justices of the Court of Appeal (sitting as the Presidential Election Petition Court) erred in law when contrary to the provisions of Section 151(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) they refused to grant the application of the appellants on the grounds that it will amount to pre-judging the issue in the substantive case,” Atiku’s lawyers led by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu stated in their first of the four ground appeal.
They further noted that their application “was legitimately brought within the confines of Section 151(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which allows for an inspection of polling document or any other packet in the custody of the Chief National Electoral Commissioner or any other officer of the commission for purpose of, inter alia, maintaining the election petition”.
They also noted that their prayer was for a permission to inspect in the presence of INEC, and APC the information stored in the database packets in INEC’s server.
In the second ground, Atiku’s lawyers noted that the five judges led by Justice Garba “failed to exercise their discretion in favour of the appellants in respect of their motion”.
In the third ground, the lawyers noted that the Tribunal’s judgment “denied the appellants fair hearing in gross violation of Section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 (as amended), by declining to grant the application of the appellants for access to the information in the 1st respondent’s custody, thereby undermining the maintenance of the petition.”
Finally in the fourth ground, they alleged that the PEPT “erred in law when they failed to consider the evidence in the custody of the 1st respondent.”
Adding that they; “produced evidence vide Exhibits B and D attached to their further affidavit to the effect that the Chairman of the 1st respondent (INEC), who doubled as the Chief National Electoral Commissioner, confirmed the decision of the 1st respondent to transmit the results of the presidential election electronically to the central server.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.