Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal did not deny him access to the controversial server of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, but merely said it was not necessary granting the access at the preliminary stage.
Atiku, who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for the February 23 presidential election, is contesting the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the tribunal, insisting that he won the election.
He is also praying the tribunal to compel INEC to allow him access to its server, which has become a major controversy, with INEC at various times either saying it does not exist or it was never used for transmission of election results.
Responding to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity on the server ruling by the tribunal, Atiku, through his media aide, Paul Ibe on Tuesday, said the tribunal only ruled that granting them access to the server was not necessary in the preliminary stage of the proceedings.
He said: “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 eyewitness testimony in the multiple media interviews by Independent National Electoral Commission workers that there was 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 on the fact that the 2019 budget has multiple line items for procurement, maintenance and service of the server they claim does not exist.”
He added, “The statement tried to spin the recent verdict on the election passed by the European Union election observers. For the avoidance of doubt, what the EU report said was that the 2019 elections had significant defects and fell short of the 2015 elections. It should be noted that one of the issues they raised was 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.”