By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Supreme Court will in the next few minutes deliver ruling in the request by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP), in the February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar, to Inspect the central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to establish its claim on the outcome of the presidential poll.
Justice Mohammed Datijo, who presided at the adoption of the addressees on Atiku’s appeal, announced that the court will rise and return to give its decision in the matter.
Atiku represented by Eyitayo Jegede SAN had pleaded with the court to set aside the decision of the presidential election petition tribunal which refused to compel INEC to allow him access to the central server alleged used in the conduct of the presidential poll.
The senior lawyer told the five man panel of the apex court that access to the INEC’s central server was germane to the joint petition of Atiku and PDP and urged the court to grant the request of the appellants by ordering the electoral body to allow access to the 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 had 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 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 decision of the tribunal prompted the current appeal at the Supreme Court.
Earlier another appeal by Atiku and the PDP was struck out following its withdrawal by their lead counsel, Eyitayo Jegede SAN.
Jegede informed the court that the appeal having not been argued within 21 days allowed by law had become statute barred.
The appeal SC/738/2019 was seeking to upturn the decision of the tribunal which held that the petitioners lost its 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 objected to by the respondents; INEC, Buhari and the APC.
Accordingly, presiding Justice of the five man panel, Justice Mohammed Datijo ,struck out the appeal.