The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments on an appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, seeking access to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s sever.
The Dattijo Muhammad-led five-man panel is to return later on Tuesday to deliver its ruling on it.
They are by their petition before the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-man Presidential Election Petition Tribunal challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the February 23, 2019 election.
They alleged in their petition that the “authentic” results of the February 23, 2019 election which gave them victory were stored in the said INEC server.
But the tribunal had on June 24, 2019, during the pre-hearing session on the petition, dismissed their application for permission to be allowed access to the server, which INEC had denied its existence.
The tribunal, in dismissing the petitioners’ application, held that granting the request would amount to pre-judging the main issue that was meant t be trashed at the substantive hearing in the case.
Leading the petitioners’ argument in their appeal challenging the June 24, 2019 ruling of the tribunal, on Tuesday, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), told the apex court that his clients were still within time to access the server and make use of the evidence to be extracted from it.
He said the 180 days meant for the tribunal to hear and determine the case had not lapsed.
But the respondents, INEC, President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, opposed the appeal through their respective lawyers and urged the apex court to dismiss it.
While INEC was represented by Yunus Usman (SAN), Buhari was represented by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), and APC by Chief Charles Edosomwan (SAN).
They maintained that granting the prayer sought by the appellants would be of no utility value as the presentation of evidence at the tribunal had closed.