INEC SERVER: PDP, ATIKU TO CHALLENGE TRIBUNAL DECISION
By Ufuoma Egbamuno
The last has not been heard about the decision by the Presidential Election Tribunal to deny the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar access to the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The PDP and its presidential candidate insists it will “challenge” the decision.
On Monday, the five-man panel unanimously rejected the plea by the PDP and its candidate to access the server of INEC. Correspondent Abayomi Akinbola reports that according to the tribunal, the request could not be granted because issues had been joined by parties over the existence or otherwise of the server.
But, Chris Uche, one of counsels to the PDP and Atiku Abubakar insists the tribunal erred in its judgment.
“We are not asking the court to decide whether there is a server or not. So the aspect of the court pre judging any issue does not arise at all,” Uche told journalists after the judgment. “All we are saying is allow us access to inspect materials used by INEC which we are entitled to.”
The PDP counsel maintains that “INEC is a public institution” and as a result, the “decision by the tribunal would be challenged.”
But Yunus Usman, counsel to the first respondent, INEC is “satisfied” with the decision of the tribunal. According to him, “the court said issues have been joined and those issues can only be proved during trial and so, as at now it is not fair for the court to delve into those issues.”
He added: “It is what we are saying, that is a substantive issue and that is why if it is a substantive issue is to know whether there is such a particular server or not, then you cannot determine it now.
Meanwhile, the existence or otherwise of a server for March’s presidential election has been a huge topical over the last few weeks. But Mike Ezekhome, another counsel of the PDP and its presidential candidate insists it should not even be up for debate.
He said: “INEC itself through the chairman Professor Yakubu had maintained again and again before and during the election that they had a central server that results were going to be electronically transmitted to that server.”