The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday, adduced reasons why he applied for an order to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to surrender all the materials used for the February 23 presidential election, for inspection.
He said the request was to establish that the exercise was fraught with manifest irregularities, including multiple thumb-printing of ballot papers, saying he intends to engage forensic experts to analyse the election materials.
Consequently, he prayed the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, for leave to be allowed to obtain some of the sensitive materials that INEC deployed for the presidential election.
Meantime, the tribunal, stood-down its proceedings for one hour to enable it to consider the merit or otherwise of the request.
The three-man panel tribunal headed by Justice Abdul Aboki, reserved ruling on the motion marked CA/A/P/EPT/1/2019 after it heard from Atiku’s lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN.
Uche told the tribunal that the motion dated March 4, was brought pursuant to section 6(6) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended and section 151 of the Electoral Act, sought for six reliefs, among which included an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to surrender all the sensitive materials that were used for the presidential poll, for forensic scrutiny.
Among items, he said his client wants to be inspected by forensic experts, include over 80million ballot papers that were used for the election, which he said would be subjected to thumbprint analysis. Other items the motion is asking the electoral body to release to the intending petitioners for scrutiny are the Voters Register, the Smart Card Reader Machines, as well as information stored in INEC’s back-up server.
He said the first prayer in the motion paper was for leave of the tribunal permitting Atiku and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to file the action before the pre-hearing session of the tribunal, as prescribed by the Electoral Act.
The Applicants (Atiku and PDP) urged the tribunal to direct INEC to allow their agents to scan and make photocopies of vital documents used in the conduct of the election, for the purpose of establishing manifest irregularities they said led to President Muhammadu Buhari’s emergence as the winner of the presidential election. They maintained that the six reliefs sought against INEC were for the purpose of filing and maintaining an election petition they intend to lodge against the outcome of the 2019 Presidential Election.