The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal filed by the People’s Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, seeking access to the central serve of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Justice Chima Nweze, while delivering the ruling of the five-member panel of the apex court, said “the appeal has no merit” and dismissed it.
“I see no reason for departing from the reasoning of the lower court. I find that this appeal is without merit and it is accordingly, dismissed.”
Other members of the panel, Justices Mohammed, Kumai Akaahs, Paul Galumje and Uwani Abba-Aji agreed with the lead judgment.
The presidential candidate of the PDP in the February presidential election had appealed the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal’s decision to reject their request to access the “central server” which they alleged housed the results of the poll electronically transmitted by INEC during the election.
He had approached the apex court to set aside the June 24 decision of the tribunal and also grant all their prayers contained in the motion on notice.
Atiku’s counsel, 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 allegedly used in the conduct of the presidential poll.
He said access to INEC’s central server is germane to the joint petition of Atiku and PDP and urged the court to grant their request by ordering the electoral body to allow access to the database.
However, counsel to President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, asked the court to turn down the request and 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 on August 21 and even if the request is granted it will serve no purpose to the two petitioners since they have long closed their cases.
This position was also adopted by counsel to INEC, Yunus Usman, SAN, and that of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Charles Edosamwam.