By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) sitting in Abuja, on Monday declined to grant the application filed by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for access to inspect the server and data of smart card reader said to have been deployed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of the February 23 presidential election.
The presiding justice of the five-man panel, Justice Mohammed Garba, in a ruling 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.
The chairman added that doing so would further create the impression that the tribunal has concluded that there is a central server where results of the February 23 election were received and stored.
The tribunal had on June 13 reserved ruling in the application filed by Atiku and PDP on May 8, for access to inspect INEC’s central server and smart card reader allegedly used in the conduct of the February 23 presidential election.
However, the tribunal, in a unanimous decision, refused to grant the application on the grounds that since parties have joined issues, the tribunal cannot at the interlocutory stage make an order that would affect the substantive issue.
“I decline to grant the relieve sought, this application is refused and accordingly dismissed,” Justice Garba held.