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Supreme Court dismisses Atiku, PDP’s petition; set to rule on INEC Server

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal filed by Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow it access its central server.

Atiku and PDP through their lawyer, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) told the apex court that the INEC server and other electoral materials were essential to their petition against the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23, 2019, presidential poll.

The Justice Muhammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) had on June 24, 2019, dismissed Atiku’s request to access the server.

The PEPT noted that granting their request would mean the court indeed recognised and found out that there is a central server into which results of the poll were electronically transmitted and stored.

Consequently, Atiku and his party approached the apex court to nullify the ruling by the tribunal.

The court went on a break and is to return later today to deliver its judgement regarding Atiku’s request to access the alleged central server.

Atiku’s lawyer told the court that his client was still within time to access the server as the 180 days period meant for the tribunal to hear and determine the case had not elapsed.

INEC, President Buhari and APC however wants the apex court to dismiss the appeal, saying that granting Atiku’s request would be of no use as the presentation of evidence at the tribunal had closed.

Meanwhile, the Justice Dattijo Muhammad led five-man Supreme Court panel had ruled that the appeal was statute-barred.

The apex court noted that the petitioner do not have a reply to an application filed by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on May 14, 2019 seeking for the dismissal of the petitioners appeal against President Buhari’s victory.

Atiku and the PDP had alleged that according to results obtained from the server of INEC, Buhari scored 16,741,430 votes, while Atiku scored 18,356,732 votes.

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