The 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar on Tuesday said the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal did not reject his request to check the purported central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as “prematurely” claimed by the Presidency.
Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, had in a statement on Monday commended the ruling by the tribunal, stressing that the opposition’s attempt to overreach the judicial process was overwhelmingly rejected by a unanimous decision.
Recall that the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had in a unanimous decision ruled that the request could not be granted since the issue of whether such central server existed or not, is already a subject of controversy in the substantive petition that is challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.
Atiku, in a statement on Tuesday by his Special Adviser on Media, Paul Ibe, argued that his case to check INEC server was not dismissed as claimed by the presidency, adding that the “main case has not begun and that the matter of granting access to inspect the INEC server is not relevant to the preliminary stages”.
The statement read, “What the honorable Tribunal said is that it is still at preliminary stages and the main case has not begun and that the matter of granting access to inspect the INEC server is not relevant to the preliminary stages. It is a matter to be adjudicated upon when the case proper is being heard.
“Their giddiness has even blinded them to the eye witness testimony given to multiple media in interviews by staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission that there is indeed a server and that they actually submitted results and accreditation through it.
“In their rush to claim a Pyrrhic victory, the Buhari administration missed out the fact that the 2019 budget has multiple line items for procurement, maintenance and service of the server they claimed does not exist.
“Furthermore, the statement tried to spin the recent verdict on the election passed by the EU election observers. For the avoidance of doubt, what the EU report said is that the 2019 elections had significant defects and fell short of expectations. It should be noted that one of the issues they raised is the attempt to muzzle not just the media, but more importantly, the judiciary.
“In the light of this, we remind those who are gloating in their ignorance that ‘he who laughs last, laughs best’. “The last has not been heard of this matter and we eagerly anticipate the actual ruling of the Tribunal when the case proper begins.”