By Andy Chukwu
The Presidential Election Tribunal on Monday rejected the request by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and his party to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow them access to the server used for this year’s presidential election.
In a ruling on the application, the five-member panel unanimously refused the request, saying the request could not be granted because issues had been joined by parties over the existence or otherwise of the server.
The judges said it was impossible for the tribunal to delve into the server issue at the interlocutory stage of the panel’s sittings.
The PDP and Atiku, through their lawyers, led by Levy Uzoukwu, SAN, asked the tribunal to compel INEC to grant them access to the server and smart card readers used in the conduct of the election.
“The servers from which the said figures were derived belong to the first Respondent (INEC). The figures and votes were transmitted to the first Respondent’s Presidential Result’s Server 1 and thereafter aggregated in INEC_PRES_RSLT_SRV2019, whose Physical Address or unique Mac Address is 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9 with Microsoft Product ID 00252-7000000000-AA535. The above descriptions are unique to the first Respondent’s Server,”Atiku and his party said.
“There is no conjecture in the votes and scores in the table pleaded by the petitioners. The figures are factual.”
But the counsel representing INEC, Yunus Usman, SAN, in a counter affidavit asked the court to dismiss the application.
“They are asking us to bring something we do not have,” Usman said.
He further called the attention of the tribunal to its judgment of March 6 granting PDP access to inspect only election materials without the server.
The PDP and Atiku are challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election.
The petitioners claimed that the results they obtained from the INEC server indicated that Atiku won the poll with an almost two million votes margin.
The counsel to President Muhammadu Buhari, Wole Olanipekun, and the APC, Lateef Fagnemi, on their part, asked the court to dismiss the application for failing to disclose the existence of the server.
Atiku had said that results from the INEC server showed that he scored 18,356,732 votes as against 16,741,430 votes by Atiku. INEC had through manual collation announced President Buhari winner of the election with 15,191,847 votes with Atiku polling 11, 262,978 votes.