Atiku Camp Replies Buhari Camp Over Tribunal Ruling
The decision of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal on the issue of servers for the 2019 general elections has continued to generate reactions.
Naija News recalls the tribunal on Monday, declined the application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar to inspect INEC smart card readers and the server for the February 23 presidential election.
Delivering ruling on the application, the five-member panel of justices unanimously dismissed the application.
In the main ruling by the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mohammed Garba held that the matter is a substantive issue for determination by the tribunal cannot be determined at the interlocutory stage.
After the tribunal ruling, the presidency in its reaction through Mallam Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, described the judgement as ‘landmark ruling.’
However, the Atiku camp on Tuesday, in its reaction to the statement from the presidency said it is too early for the Buhari camp to rejoice.
It said the matter would still be adjudicated upon when the case proper is being heard.
The full statement from the Atiku camp, signed by his media aide, Paul Ibe and made available to our newsroom reads:
“Our attention has been drawn to a statement from Aso Rock Villa, wherein spokesperson for General Muhammadu Buhari praised the ruling of the Presidential Election Tribunal, which ‘rejected’ the request by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and the Peoples Democratic Party, to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission to grant access to their server used for the 2019 presidential election.
After praising the so-called “landmark ruling”, the statement went on to claim that “the existence of a purported server is being contested and if a purported inspection had been allowed at this stage, it would have amounted to the determination that it indeed existed even when its existence is being contested.”
Our response is to plead vindication of our case that not only did Atiku Abubakar win the February 23, 2019 elections, but that the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari lacks executive temperament and capacity as we will now establish.
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.”