Following the reaction of the Presidency to Monday Presidential Election Tribunal’s refusal to grant the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) access to the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 election has said the Presidency’s celebration was premature.
In a statement issued by Paul Ibe, his media adviser in Abuja on Tuesday, Atiku affirmed that the tribunal has not ruled out his inspection of the electoral body’s device contrary to the claim of the presidency.
The statement explained that what happened was that the tribunal maintained that the matter was still at its preliminary stage and therefore the issue of granting access to the server was irrelevant now.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to a statement from Aso Rock Villa, wherein spokesperson for General Muhammadu Buhari praised the ruling of the Presidential Election Tribunal, which ‘rejected’ the request by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and the Peoples Democratic Party, to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission to grant access to their server used for the 2019 presidential election.
“After praising the so-called ‘landmark ruling,’ the statement went on to claim that “the existence of a purported server is being contested and if a purported inspection had been allowed at this stage, it would have amounted to the determination that it indeed existed even when its existence is being contested.’
“Our response is to plead vindication of our case that not only did Atiku Abubakar win the February 23, 2019 elections, but that the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari lacks executive temperament and capacity as we will now establish.
“Let us educate the spokespersons of General Muhammadu Buhari on what yesterday’s judgment actually says. The request by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party to inspect the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission was NOT rejected.
“What the honourable Tribunal said is that it is still at preliminary stages and the main case has not begun and 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.
“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 the Independent National Electoral Commission 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.
“Furthermore, the statement tried to spin the recent verdict on the election passed by the EU 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 2019 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.”
Practical Considerations to Negotiate an Enforceable Joint Operating Agreement in Civil Law Jurisdictions (Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2020) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, LL. B (1st Class), BL (1st Class), LL.M (Calgary), LL.M (Harvard), DPhil (Oxford), Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria, www.damilolaolawuyi.com. & Professor Eduardo G. Pereira, LL. B (Brazil), LL.M (Aberdeen), PhD (Aberdeen),www.eduardogpereira.com
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