The Oasis Reporters
June 24, 2019
In a unanimous decision, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) rejected the request by Atiku Abubakar and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for permission to inspect a supposed central server, which they claimed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) used to transmit results of the last presidential election, electronically.
The ruling was made on Monday by a five-man panel of the tribunal, led by Justice Mohammed Garba, as they dismissed the application filed by Atiku and the PDP, to that effect.
The tribunal said, since parties to the petition by Atiku and PDP were disputing the existence or otherwise of an INEC central server, it was wrong for it to grant the petitioners’ request to inspect a server, whose existence, usage or otherwise was being disputed by the contending parties.
It noted that by averments contained in processes filed, they have joined issues on whether or not there is a central server and whether or not INEC deployed it for the election.
The tribunal said granting the petitioners’ request to inspect a server, which the supposed owner said did not exist, will amount to the tribunal agreeing that a server actually exists.
It said the issue about the existence of a server, which forms a substantial part of the petition filed by Atiku and the PDP, should be determined at the hearing of the main petition.
The tribunal dismissed the application filed by Atiku and the PDP on May 8. 2019.
Atiku and the PDP, in their petition before the tribunal, claimed that they won the election based on results they downloaded from the said INEC central server, which INEC has consistently denied its existence.
INEC has consistently denied that it deployed any server for the transmission of the election results and that the extant Electoral Act and Electoral Guidelines do not allow electronic transmission of election results.
Since the seeming central plank of the Atiku Abubakar petition rested on what the actual figures the server stored, his lawyers would have to fashion out another route to carry on with the case.
Pundits are asking that if INEC is denying knowledge of a Central server, then was there any money appropriated for the purchase of a it ? Where did they store all the data that was used to compute the winning and losing figures?
That would be a question for the electoral body and the finance ministry to answer.
Yet finally, the truth can never remain hidden forever, especially for those who believe that a clean legacy is necessary to be maintained for posterity sake.