The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed an application by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, seeking permission to have access to the central server which it claimed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, used for the conduct of the February 23 elections.
The panel of five justices led by Justice Mohammed Garba in a unanimous ruling on Monday, upheld the separate objections by the three respondents to the petitioners’ application.
The three respondents are INEC, President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The tribunal, in the ruling held that granting the petitioners request would amount to pre-judging the main issue meant for trial during the substantive hearing of the petition.
It said that since INEC had denied the existence of the a central server as alleged by the petitioners, granting the application would mean that the court had “indeed recognised and found out that there is a central server into which results of the held on February 23, 2019 were electronically transmitted by the 1st respondent (INEC).”
He said the Supreme Court had on many occasions warned judges to desist from “making observations, comments or pronouncements in its rulings with any likely effect of prejudging the main issue that can be regarded as the issue to be tried in the course of trial.”
The lead ruling was delivered by Justice Garba.