Updated: February 25, 2021
The lawyer for Atiku Abubakar, the main opposition candidate in the 2019 presidential election in Nigeria, has reacted to the Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday declining a request by Atiku and the opposition People’s Democratic Party to access the central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Why it matters: Lawyer Eyitayo Jegede and the PDP have repeatedly argued that massive fraud was perpetrated by the Nigerian electoral body to help re-elect President Muhammadu Buhari, and that accessing the central server of INEC would have exposed all of it.
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But the ruling All Progressives Congress and President Buhari opposed that request and the Supreme Court ruled in their favor on Tuesday after the matter moved there from a lower court.
Mr. Buhari removed the Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing him just days to the elections. He accused the latter of being corrupt but opposition saw the move as an attempt to install someone who would do his bidding.
Read the statement below sent to TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA by the office of Mr Abubakar.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar and his party, the PDP have done justice to their petition at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal challenging the victory of Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election, his lawyer, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), has said.
Jegede’s assertion is coming against the backdrop of Tuesday’s decision of the Supreme Court to decline request by Atiku and PDP to have access to inspect the central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The apex court had in a judgment held that Atiku’s request could not be granted because it was brought after parties have joined issues on the existence or otherwise of the server.
Atiku who spoke through his lead counsel at Tuesday’s proceedings, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), said that this kind of decision was anticipated and that proactive action had been taken during the hearing of the petition.
Jegede said that the issue of server which was aimed at establishing that the election was rigged during collation of results was thoroughly addressed through witnesses and documents tendered and admitted during the presentation of the petition.
He restated that Atiku and PDP have already done justice to all the replies made to their Petitions by the 1st Respondent, (INEC), 2nd Respondent (Muhammadu Buhari) and the 3rd Respondent (The All Progressives Congress), in their final written address.
For the avoidance of doubt, he reminded that the issues for determination which have been well articulated in the final written address are:
1. Whether the 2nd Respondent (Muhammadu Buhari) was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the election;
2. Whether the 2nd Respondent (Muhammadu Buhari) submitted to the 1st Respondent (INEC) affidavits containing false information of a fundamental nature in aid of his qualification for the said election;
3. Whether from the pleadings and evidence led it was established that the 2nd Respondent (Muhammadu Buhari) was elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election;
4. Whether the Presidential election conducted by the 1st Respondent (INEC) on the 23rd February 2019 was invalid by reasons of corrupt practices;
5. Whether the presidential election conducted by the 1st Respondent (INEC) on the 23rd February 2019 was invalid by reasons of non compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the Electoral Guidelines 2019 and the manuals issued for the conduct of the elections.
He expressed optimism that the tribunal would do justice at the end of the day.
Meanwhile Atiku and PDP will on Wednesday adopt their final written address in the presidential election petition challenging the declaration of Buhari as winner of the February 23 presidential election.