Atiku writes INEC, demands access to presidential election materials
Atiku Abubakar, a candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the recently held presidential election, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to abide by the Court of Appeal’s March 3 ruling.
In accordance with the court’s order, Atiku and his party, the PDP, have specifically requested that INEC give them immediate access to the electoral materials used in the conduct of the February 25 presidential election.
On March 3, a three-member panel of the appellate court ordered the electoral umpire to allow the applicants access to materials used for the presidential election on February 25. This was in response to an exparte application filed by Atiku and the PDP.
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The order was to enable Atiku and PDP to gather evidence which they intend to present at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal that would handle grievances of contestants against the outcome of the presidential election.
In a letter dated March 9 and entitled “Demand for Immediate Compliance with Court Order Granted On March 3, 2023, For Access, Inspection and Examination/Analysis of Electoral Materials Used for 2023 Presidential Election,” the PDP lead attorney, Joe-Kyari Gadzama, recalled that the Abuja Court of Appeal, presided over by Justice Shagbaor Ikyegh, had issued orders in favor of his clients on March 3, 2023.
“The Court in Order No. 6, specifically allowed our clients to carry out forensic examination/analysis of the BVAS machines/devices and all information stored in the server/IREV/backend/clouds, amongst others”, Gadzama stated.
The senior lawyer claimed that the enrolled court order was duly and promptly served on the Commission on the same March 3 by the court bailiff accompanied by his clients’ representatives.
“We have attached the acknowledged copy of the court order for ease of reference. It is our clients’ brief that upon service of the order, they immediately requested a date to follow up and they were asked to return on March 6.
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“On 6 March, our clients’ representatives led by Adedamola Fanokun, Esq (office of the PDP National Legal Adviser) returned to the Commission ready to commence inspection, examination and obtaining of the electoral materials as ordered by the court but they were informed at the Commission’s legal registry that there was no instruction yet from the Commission on the court order.
“Our clients further requested an audience with the Commission’s Director of Litigation to accelerate the process but they were not allowed as they were told by the Registry staff that the Director was in a meeting. Sadly, these and other efforts by our clients have yielded no result”, Gadzama stated.
Gadzama also demanded daily access to all voting records, voter lists, ballots, and electoral forms and materials for scanning, forensic auditing, expert examination, and inspection.
Furthermore, the PDP’s lawyer sought daily access to the BVAS machines, devices, server, IREV, backend, and clouds for forensic examination and analysis, as well as CTCs of all BVAS accreditation reports, forms EC40A, EC8A, and EC.