INEC Server Controversy: Tribunal has not Rejected my Request, Atiku Tells Buhari

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Former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has dismissed insinuation that the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal rejected his request to access the server allegedly used by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2019 general election.

While reacting to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, which praised the tribunal’s “rejection” of Atiku’s request, the Media Adviser of the former Vice President, Paul Ibe, in a statement on Tuesday played down the claim that Atiku’s request was rejected.

Ibe insisted that Atiku defeated President Buhari in the last election,  adding that the president lacked executive temperament and capacity.

He reiterated that INEC used a central server for the 2019 election, expressing confidence that the tribunal would still give the “actual” judgment on the matter.

The statement read in part; “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.”