Atiku Abubakar

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Monday dismissed an application filed by Atiku Abubakar and the PDP to inspect INEC server allegedly used in collating the Feb. 23 general election.

Justice Mohammed Garba, Chairman of the panel held that granting such application at this interlocutory stage would preempt the substantive petition.

A five-man panel of the tribunal unanimously refused the request, saying issues have been joined by parties on the existence or otherwise of the server.

The judges said the tribunal could not delve into those issues at the interlocutory stage.

Garba noted that by averments contained in processes filed by parties, they have joined issues on whether or not there was a central server and whether or not INEC deployed it for the election.

The judge said granting the petitioners’ request to inspect a server, which the supposed owner said did not exist, would amount to the tribunal agreeing that a server actually existed.

According to the judge, the issue about the existence of a server, which formed a substantial part of the petition filed by Atiku and the PDP, should be determined at the hearing of the main petition.

Atiku and the PDP, in their petition before the tribunal in May, claimed that they won the election based on results they downloaded from the said INEC central server, which INEC had consistently denied its existence.