On Thursday February 23rd, 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission had revealed that it does not have in it’s possession the electronic server which Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had demanded for, and had also revealed why the tribunal should dismiss the case. The Petition had been filed to challenge the victory of Buhari in the last presidential election on February 23rd.
The respondents to the petition which include President Mohammadu Buhari, INEC and the All Progressive Congress have asked the panel led by Justice Mohammed Garba to dismiss the petitioners demand.
The counsels of the respective respondents have reiterated to the tribunal that the court of appeal had earlier dismissed such an application which the petitioners had also filed and therefore it should not hold water.
Mr Yunus Usman(SAN) the lead counsel of INEC had said the application meant asking the electoral body to produce what it did not have in it’s possession.
Usman’s statement had read in part:
“We attached as Exhibit 1, the enrolled order of this honorable court made on May 6, 2019 refusing all the prayers of the petitioners in this application.
“They said we should bring what we don’t have.”
On February 23rd Muhammadu Buhari under the umbrella of APC had been declared the winner of the 2019 Presidential Election.
The result had declared that Buhari had defeated his rival with 15,191,847 votes, while Atiku had only gotten 11,262,978 votes. Atiku had however contended that in a petition filed on March 18 that the real data gotten from INEC, had showed a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari whom he said scored 16,741,430 votes.
Chief Chris Uche (SAN) a senior member of the petitioners legal team had moved the application on Thursday.
Uche had pleaded with the tribunal to do the needful by granting the application to show that they are transparent and neutral in maintaining justice
His statement had read in part:
“The application in summary asks for access to and inspection of the server of the INEC and the smart card readers used in the conduct of the presidential election.
“We have addressed the issues in our counter-affidavit, written address and reply on points of law and we urge your lordships that the application be granted as prayed in the interest of justice, transparency and neutrality.
He had added that the application was necessary for the maintenance of the petition.
Usman the lead counsel of INEC had reminded the tribunal of the counter affidavit of his client which had been filed on May 23rd in opposition to the application, saying that since the Court of Appeal had refused similar application, then it definitely should not be granted again.
Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), leader of Buhari legal team had then asked the tribunal to immediately dismiss the application.