There is no basis for ordering that you inspect the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), to Atiku Abubakar, challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election on February 23.
The tribunal, in reaching its position told Atiku and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that their request to inspect a supposed central server, they alleged was used to transmit the results of the election electronically, could not be granted because the commission claimed they did not have a server.
Justice Mohammed Garba, leading the five-man panel that is hearing the tribunal, while reading a unanimous ruling on Monday, said since parties defending the petition had disputed 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 parties.
It noted that by averments contained in processes filed by parties, 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 petetitioners’ request to inspect a server, which the supposed owner said did not exist, will amount to the tribunal agreeing that a server actually exist.
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.