The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday denied having a server where the results of the February 23 presidential election were uploaded.
INEC stated this position at the ongoing Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja .
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, are challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election.
The petitioners claimed that the results they obtained from the INEC server indicated that Mr Abubakar won the poll with an over six million votes margin.
Through their lawyers led by Levy Uzoukwu, the PDP and Mr Abubakar asked the tribunal to compel INEC to grant them access to the server and smart card readers used in the conduct of the election.
But counsel representing INEC, Yunus Usman, in a counter affidavit asked the court to dismiss the application.
“They are asking us to bring something we do not have,” Mr Usman said.
He further drew the attention of the tribunal to its judgment on March 6 granting PDP access to inspect only election materials without the server.
The counsel to President Muhammadu Buhari, Wole Olanipekun, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lateef Fagnemi, on their part both asked the court to dismiss the application for failing to disclose the existence of the server.
Mr Abubakar had said that results from the INEC server showed that he scored 18,356,732 votes as against 16,741,430 votes by Mr Buhari. INEC had through manual collation announced President Buhari winner of the election with 15,191,847 votes with Mr Abubakar polling 11, 262,978 votes.
“The servers from which the said figures were derived belong to the first Respondent (INEC). The figures and votes were transmitted to the first Respondent’s Presidential Result’s Server 1 and thereafter aggregated in INEC_PRES_RSLT_SRV2019, whose Physical Address or unique Mac Address is 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9 with Microsoft Product ID 00252-7000000000-AA535. The above descriptions are unique to the first Respondent’s Server,” Mr Abubakar and his party said.
“There is no conjecture in the votes and scores in the table pleaded by the petitioners. The figures are factual.”
“The spokesperson for the second Respondent’s Campaign Organization openly admitted that the data in question was in the first Respondent’s Server when he wrote and submitted a petition to the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS) asking the Security agencies to investigate the 2nd Petitioner herein for allegedly hacking into the Server of the first Respondent and obtaining the data in question.
“Specifically, Festus Keyamo, SAN, the spokesperson of the second Respondent claimed in the said petition that it was the first Petitioner who smuggled the data into the Server.”
Mr Abubakar and the PDP also alleged that the INEC chairman “committed grave errors in the final collation exercise” for the election by “falsely crediting” some persons with political parties, including “Okotie Christopher, Reverend Dr Onwubuya and Ojinika Jeff Chinze.”