The Supreme Court, on Friday, explained why it declined to nullify President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.
The apex court stressed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, failed to prove their case against the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.
The apex court which gave its reasons, sixteen days after it summarily dismissed the joint appeal the PDP and Atiku lodged to challenge the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal judgment that upheld Buhari’s election, held that the appellants relied on results they obtained from a website that has a dubious origin, to insist that they won the presidential contest.
According to the Supreme Court, whereas the appellants claimed that results of the presidential election were electronically transmitted to a central server by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, they however tendered before the tribunal, results they said were obtained from a website they gave its name as www.factsdontlieng.com.
In a unanimous decision, the seven-man panel of Justices of apex court panel headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, held that the issue to be considered was not whether or not INEC had a website, but whether it was the owner of the website the appellants secured the supposed election results from.
Though the CJN prepared the lead judgment, it was, however, read on Friday by Justice Inyang Okoro.
He said: “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 apex court said it was not unmindful of section 71 of the Electoral Act that mandated INEC to own a website.
It noted that while the appellants contended that the election results, which they said were uploaded by an anonymous whistleblower, belonged to INEC, the electoral body, on the other hand, denied ownership of the said website.