The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has told President Muhammadu Buhari that he is celebrating a pyrrhic victory in the Monday’s ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
The tribunal had rejected Atiku and PDP’s application to inspect the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Atiku, in a statement issued yesterday by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, said his request to inspect the server was not rejected.
“Our response is to plead vindication of our case that not only did Atiku Abubakar win the February 23, 2019 election, but that the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari lacks executive temperament and capacity as we will now establish,” the former vice president stated.
The former vice president said the celebration by the presidency was premature, adding that there were multiple media interviews by staff of INEC that there is indeed a server and that they actually submitted results and accreditation through it.
Atiku said: “As such, the celebration by the administration of General Buhari that their electoral heist has been covered is premature. Their giddiness has even blinded them to the eye witness testimony given to multiple media in interviews by staff of INEC 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 General Buhari administration missed out the fact that the 2019 budget has multiple line items for procurement, maintenance and service of the server they claim does not exist.”
The PDP candidate stated that what the tribunal said was that the petition was still at preliminary stages, adding that the main case has not begun.
“Let us educate the spokespersons of General Buhari on what yesterday’s ruling actually says. The request by Atiku Abubakar and the PDP to inspect the server of INEC was rejected.
“Furthermore, the statement tried to spin the recent verdict on the election passed by the European Union election observers.
“For the avoidance of doubt, what the EU report said is that the 2019 elections had significant defects and fell short of the 2015 elections.
“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,” Atiku added.
Quoting the tribunal, the vice president noted 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.”
Atiku has already appealed against the ruling at the Supreme Court.
Atiku and PDP had premised their request for inspection of server and smart card readers on ground that the INEC server showed that Atiku scored 18,356,732 votes as against 16,741,430 votes by Buhari.
They argued that it was against INEC’s manual collation which showed that President Buhari won the election with 15,191,847 votes with Atiku polling 11, 262,978 votes.
The Tribunal, on Monday, refused Atiku and PDP’s application seeking for access to inspect the server and data of smart card readers said to have been used by INEC.
Ruling on the application, Chairman of the five-man panel, Justice Mohammed Garba, held that: “Granting of the application would imply that the court has delved into and resolved the contentious issue of the existence of a central server at INEC.”
Shortly after the ruling, the Presidency, on Monday, expressed happiness over the ruling of the Tribunal which dismissed the request by Atiku and PDP to inspect INEC server allegedly operated during the February 23 election.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, in a statement had described the tribunal ruling as landmark.
He said: “In a landmark ruling by the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, a desperate attempt by the PDP to overreach judicial process was overwhelmingly rejected by a unanimous decision and the long-standing principle of law has, once again, been re-enacted.
“An attempt to cause the determination of an issue that constitutes the fulcrum of contention between the parties, at an interlocutory stage, has again been rejected by the tribunal.”
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