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JUST IN: My request to inspect INEC server not rejected, Atiku tells presidency

PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the February 23, 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar on Tuesday said the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal did not reject his request to check the INEC server as claimed by the Presidency.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement on Monday had praised what he called a “landmark ruling” of the Tribunal, which “rejected” the request by Atiku and the PDP to have access to INEC server used for the 2019 presidential election.

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But Atiku in a statement today by his Special Adviser on Media, Paul Ibe, argued that “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.”

Atiku said the celebration by the Presidency was therefore premature.

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“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 Buhari administration missed out the fact that the 2019 budget has multiple line items for procurement, maintenance and service of the server they claimed 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 expectations. 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,” he said.

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