Why Atiku’s claim to INEC server-based victory failed – Supreme Court
NEWS DIGEST–The Supreme Court on Friday explained how the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, failed to prove their claim that they won the February 23 presidential election on the basis of the results allegedly transmitted electronically to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s server.
A seven-man panel of the apex court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, gave the explanations in its full judgment delivered on Friday to shed light on why it earlier on October 30, 2019, dismissed the appeal by Atiku and his party.
Justice John Okoro read the lead judgment prepared by the CJN, who was absent from Friday’s proceedings.
The CJN said on the issue of the INEC server whose alleged content was part of the basis for Atiku’s case, “The issue in this appeal is not whether INEC has a website.
“It is not whether INEC posted the results of the presidential election on its website.
“It is whether the www.factsdontlieng.com from which the appellants downloaded the results belonged to INEC.”
The CJN noted that the appellants’ witness 59 admitted that the results which they claimed gave Atiku and PDP victory over Buhari was obtained by an anonymous employee of INEC acting as a whistleblower and uploaded to www.factsdontlieng.com website.
“The website, www.factsdontlieng.com, belonged to the whistleblower and not INEC,” the CJN ruled.
The CJN held that it was fatal to the case of the appellants that they failed to appeal to the specific finding of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal that the said website did not belong to INEC but the whistleblower.
“It ought to have dawned on the appellants that the game was up,” Justice Muhammad added.
He ruled that Atiku and his party failed to link that the content of the disputed website was obtained from the alleged INEC server.
“Therefore, all the data, analysis and conclusions based on the content of the alleged server are of no moment,” Justice Muhammad also said.
The appellants had instituted the appeal before the apex court seeking to overturn the September 11, 2019 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, sitting as a Presidential Election Petition Court, which had dismissed their petition challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the last presidential poll.
The apex court had on October 30 rendered the summary judgment and gave its full judgment on Friday.
A member of the seven-man panel of the apex court, Justice Okoro, read the lead judgment prepared by the CJN who was absent from the proceedings.
The CJN’s judgment was unanimously consented to by the six other members of the panel.
The court resolved all the five issues formulated against the appellants and in favour of the respondents – INEC, Buhari, and the All Progressives Congress.