Tuesday, June 25, 2019 8:21 am
The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his party have explained why they will approach the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which yesterday denied them access to the server and data of smart card reader the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) allegedly used to compute the results of the 2019 presidential election.
Speaking after the ruling was delivered, Uche and another senior lawyer in the PDP and Atiku’s legal team, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) told journalists that they will challenge the decision of the President Election Petition Tribunal at the Supreme Court.
Uche, said the request of the petitioners’ application seeking to inspect the electoral materials is pivotal, and was in order and within the provisions of the law.
He said: “We are not asking the court to decide whether there is a server or not; so the aspect of the court prejudging in the issue doesn’t arise at all. All we are saying is that the court should allow us access to inspect the materials, which we are entitled to as INEC is a public institution funded by public funds.
“So, we are going to challenge that.”
Speaking in the same vein, Ozekhome said INEC, through its Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, had on several occasions before and during the election said there was a central server where results would be electronically transmitted to.
He also noted that INEC officials, including one of the spokespersons of the APC, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), had one time or the other attested to the existence of the central server.
He stated: “All the electoral commissioners maintained that the stage we are in now is a technological stage where things would not be done manually and anything not done with the PVC, which results would be transmitted electronically to the central server would not be valid.
“What the court has said today is like more or less you don’t have the right under section 151 of the Electoral Act to maintain your petition.”
“We are appealing the decision because it is like tying your hands behind your back and expecting you to fight. We are appealing the decision because we want to know what is in the central server that they are hiding,” said Ozekhome who noted that money was allocated for procurement of the central server for INEC in the budget approved by the National Assembly and it was disbursed.
“And INEC said they have done all that. So where is the money, what is there that they are hiding.
“This is not just a case between Atiku and Buhari; it is a case that have generated public interest for electoral transparency, credibility and freedom,” Ozekhome said.