The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in the February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar, said Tuesday that there is no reason to be alarmed by the verdict of the Supreme Court rejecting his appeal to inspect the central server of the Electoral Commission National Independent (INEC).
The cuspid court stated that Atiku’s request could not be accepted because it had been filed after the parties had encountered problems with the existence or not of the server.
In the unanimous ruling issued by Judge Chima Nweze, he stated that the presidential election petitioner court should have refused to accept Atiku’s request when it was presented so as not to damage other parties in the matter.
Furthermore, the court ruled that the appeal lacked merit because the appellants could not demonstrate how the court’s decision was unfair to them.
Judge Nweze said that one of the parties could complain about the lack of an impartial hearing only when the court used the court improperly or arbitrarily, adding that in this case the court used its discretionary and judicious power.
“I see no reason to depart from the lower court’s decision, the appeal is unfounded and is rejected,” said judge Nweze.
Reacting, Atiku, who spoke through his principal lawyer in Tuesday’s proceedings, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, stated that the decision was anticipated and that proactive actions were taken during the hearing of the petition.
Jegede stated that the server problem that was intended to establish that the elections were manipulated during the collection of results was fully addressed through witnesses and documents delivered and admitted during the presentation of the petition.
He expressed optimism that the court would do justice at the end of the day.
Atiku had approached the Supreme Court praying for an order to cancel the court’s decision that refused to force the INEC to allow access to the central server supposedly used in the conduct of the presidential poll.
The principal lawyer reported to the five-man panel of the higher court headed by Judge Mohammed Datijo, that access to the central INEC server is related to the joint request of Atiku and PDP and urged the court to accept the request of the signatories Order the elections. body to allow access to your database.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, asked the court to turn down the request and to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that the appeal has become academic.
Olanipekun drew the attention of the court to the fact that the life of the appeal will expire tomorrow and even if the request is granted it will serve no purpose to the two petitioners since they have long close their case.
Olanipekun further told the court that parties will on Wednesday adopt their final written addresses at the tribunal after which a judgment date will be fixed.
The position of Olanipekun was, however, adopted by counsel to INEC, Yunus Usman SAN and that of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Charles Edosamwam.
Recall that the tribunal in a ruling on June 24 refused to grant the request of the petitioners on the grounds that doing so would amount to admitting the existence of the ‘controversial INEC central server’.
The tribunal in its ruling delivered by its Chairman, Justice Mohammed Garba further held that granting the application would be prejudice to the respondents in the petition.
Dissatisfied, the petitioners approached the Supreme Court to upturn the decision.
Meanwhile, in a related development, the apex court struck out another appeal by Atiku and the PDP following the withdrawal of same by the two appellants.
At the resumed hearing of the appeal, counsel to the appellants, Eyitayo Jegede, informed the court that the appeal having not been argued within 21 days allowed by law has become statute barred.
The appeal SC/738/2019 was seeking to upturn the decision of the tribunal which held that the petitioners lost their right of objection to the APC’s application seeking the dismissal of their petition or expunge some parts of the petition having not filed a reply within the time prescribed by the law.
The withdrawal was not opposed by the respondents; INEC, Buhari and the APC.
Accordingly, presiding Justice of the five man panel, Justice Mohammed Datijo struck out the appeal.
Meanwhile parties in the petition will tomorrow adopt their final written addresses to state their respective positions in the petition challenging the declaration of Buhari as winner of the February 23 presidential election.
The tribunal had adjourned till August 21 for adoption of final written addresses after the parties in the petition had argued and close their cases for and against the petition.
But the tribunal is expected to announce a date for its decision after parties have adopted their final addresses tomorrow.