The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck out an appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the last general election in Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The PDP and Atiku had in the appeal marked SC/815/2019 sought to reverse the decision by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) which rejected their request to inspect a supposed central server purportedly used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the last presidential election.
In a unanimous judgment on Tuesday, a five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Datijo Mohammed, held that the appeal was a waste of time and without basis.
Justice Chima Nweze, who read the lead judgment, said: “I see no reason for departing from the reasoning of the lower court. I find that this appeal is without merit and it is accordingly, dismissed.”
Other members of the panel, Justices Mohammed, Kumai Akaahs, Paul Galumje and Uwani Abba-Aji concurred with the lead judgment.
The PEPC had on June 24, 2019 dismissed an application by Atiku and the PDP requesting permission to have access to the central server which they claimed INEC used for the February 23 poll.
In dismissing the application, the PEPC held that INEC’s denial of the existence of the said server and insistence that results of the election were not electronically transmitted, brings to nullity the claims put forward by the petitioners.
The PEPC further held that granting the application would amount to deciding the central issue in the petition at the interlocutory stage.
The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Garba added that granting the application would imply that the court had ‘indeed recognized and found out that there is a central server into which results of the elections held on February 23, 2019 were electronically transmitted by the 1st respondent (INEC)’.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court also struck out another appeal by the PDP and Atiku.
The appeal marked SC/738/2019 was filed against a ruling of the PEPC which held that Atiku and the PDP do not have a reply to an application filed on May 14, 2019 by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The APC’s application sought among other things, the dismissal of the suit filed by Atiku and the PDP challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the last presidential election.
In the ruling, the five-man panel struck out the appeal for having become statute barred.