The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Monday dismissed an application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, requesting permission to have access to the central server said to have been used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of the February 23 election.
A team of five judges, led by Justice Mohammed Garba, upheld the separation objections by the three respondents to the petitioners’ application.
The three respondents are INEC, Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The tribunal dismissed the application on the ground that granting it would amount to pre-judging the main issue meant for trial during the substantive hearing of the petition.
Justice Garba, upheld that since INEC had denied the existence of the said server, insisting that results of the election were not electronically transmitted into any server as alleged by the petitioners, granting the application would amount to deciding the central issue in the petition at the interlocutory stage.
“This will be unpallalatable,” Justice Garba said.
He added that granting the application would imply that the court had “indeed recognised 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)”.
He said the Supreme Court had on many occasions warned judges to desist from “making observations, comments or pronouncements in its rulings with any likely effect of prejudging the main issue that can be regarded as the issue to be tried in the course of trial.”