The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, Wednesday, withdrew an application in which he asked the Court of Appeal to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to grant him access to electoral materials that were used in the conduct of the 25 February elections.
Atiku, who lost the presidential election to the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential flagbearer, Bola Tinubu, was granted permission on 3 March to inspect sensitive electoral materials including the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machines that were deployed for the polls.
But due to allegations of INECâ€™s hesitancy in granting him and the PDP access to the electoral equipment and results sheets from the presidential election, he filed another ex parte application on 10 March at the Court of Appeal.
A statement on Wednesday by Atikuâ€™s spokesperson, Paul Ibe, explained that the former Vice President withdrew the request following INECâ€™s compliance with the court orders.
He said â€œâ€¦on Tuesday (14 March) at a conference meeting between lawyers of the PDP, LP, APC and INEC, access was eventually granted to the legal team of PDP by INEC.
â€œWhen the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, the two motions were withdrawn because they have been overtaken by events since access had already been granted on Tuesday to Atiku and PDP,â€ Mr Ibe explained.
In a statement issued on 10 March, Atikuâ€™s lawyer, Joe-Kyari Gadzama, recalled, â€œOn 6 March, our Clientsâ€™ representatives led by Adedamola Fanokun, Esq (office of the PDP National Legal Adviser) returned to the Commission (INEC) ready to commence inspection, examination and obtaining of the electoral materials as ordered by the Court but they were informed at the Commissionâ€™s legal registry that there was no instruction yet from the Commission on the Court Order.â€
Mr Gadzama, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had lamented that â€œit is disturbing that despite service of the Court Order on the commission since 3 March 2023, the commission is yet to allow our clients and their representatives to access, inspect and/or obtain the needed electoral materials as ordered by the court despite repeated visits to the commission and follow-up in respect thereof.â€
Atiku and the PDP pressed for time in filing their petition at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal registry in Abuja, within 21 days from the date INEC declared Mr Tinubu winner of the race.
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, declared Mr Tinubu the winner of the presidential election on 1 March.
Read the statement below:
â€œAtiku, PDP withdrew motions because theyâ€™ve been overtaken by events
It has become pertinent to make some clarifications following insinuations and mischievous reporting of the withdrawal of the application for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to grant access to the legal team of the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar and the PDP on the inspection of the documents related to the February 25 presidential election.
The Court of Appeal had granted the request of Atiku and the PDP to be granted unfettered access to the INEC documents used for the presidential election.
On the 10th of March, 2023 Atiku and PDP filed a motion (number 12M) ex parte and affidavit of urgency to ensure the implementation of the court order. The court, however, asked that they put Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress APC and the INEC on notice. Consequently, they filed a motion on notice (number 13M) and motion ex parte (number 13MA) for substituted service on Bola Tinubu.
But on Tuesday at a conference meeting between lawyers of the PDP, LP, APC and INEC, access was eventually granted to the legal team of PDP by INEC.
When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, the two motions were withdrawn because they have been overtaken by events since access had already been granted on Tuesday to Atiku and PDP.
Media Adviser to Atiku Abubakar
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007
15th March 2023.â€