INEC Server Controversy: Tribunal rules against PDP, Atiku

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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal said the allegation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that INEC made use of a central server for the collation of election results in the 2019 election could not be proven

The court in a decision on Wednesday said there is nothing in the law that allows INEC to transmit results electronically at all levels of elections in Nigeria.

The five-member panel of the tribunal said the PDP’s application suggesting the use of a central server for the collation of result was, therefore, misconceived.

Reading through the section of the petition regarding the controversies surrounding the alleged use of a central server, the court noted that the PDP had said that Section 9 of the Electoral Act was amended in 2015.

“The issue is: Can it truly be said that the section amended actually empowered INEC to transmit election results electronically?

“The court only has a duty to interpret the law. The court has no power to amend the law.”

The court read out the import of the provision, stating that Section 22 (a) does not provide for electronic transmission of results.

The court then read through other sections of the law and added that

“It is undeniable that the transmission of election result is manual at different and all levels of the elections at different stages from the states to the national level.

“There is no provision authorising the first respondent or any of its officers to transfer election results to any of the servers. There is also nothing allowing the first respondents to use the smart card reader for the collation of results.”

“I’m not aware that the card reader machine has replaced the voters’ register.”

The tribunal was still reading the full judgement at the time of this report.

The PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had challenged the results of the 2019 election won by President Muhammadu Buhari.

One of the grounds for challenging the result was that a separate result on an INEC ‘server’ showed that Mr Abubakar won the election.

INEC had denied having such a server.

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