The Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party, and All Progressives Congress disputed the necessity of the hearing being televised by the media prior to today’s decision on the application for live transmission of the proceedings of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. Continue Full Reading>>>
The PDP and LP claimed to The PUNCH on Sunday that the live telecast of court proceedings would enhance fairness and dispel any worries over the judiciary’s transparency, while the APC contended that it would not improve the administration of justice.
In order for Nigerians to have firsthand knowledge of the procedures that would guide the tribunal in determining the true winner of the contest, the PDP and Atiku Abubakar, its presidential candidate, had pleaded with the tribunal to broadcast its sittings live. Atiku Abubakar finished second in the February 25 election, behind President-elect Bola Tinubu. Continue Full Reading>>>
In a motion dated May 5 submitted by their attorney Chris Uche, SAN, Atiku, and the PDP specifically asked the court for an order directing the registry of the court and the parties on the procedures for allowing media professionals and their equipment into the courtroom.
Through their principal attorney, Awa Kalu, SAN, the LP and its standard bearer, Peter Obi, submitted a similar appeal in which they asserted that Nigerians, as stakeholders, have a right to know the status of the election petition processes in real-time.
The president-elect, the APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission all aggressively rejected the application, branding it frivolous.
They contended that the application relates to the creation of court policy, which is outside the purview of the PEPC in its current structure.
Lateef Fagbemi, the attorney representing the APC, urged the court to refuse the plea to transform the proceedings into “a Big Brother electoral series.”
Wole Olanipekun, SAN, the president-elect’s attorney, noted that the live broadcast, if approved, would put both the judges and the attorneys in danger. In contrast, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, the attorney for INEC, argued that the application was unnecessary because “the court is a public place and is accessible to all, subject to the availability of space.”
The court postponed making a decision on the application until Monday (today) after listening to the arguments from all sides last Thursday.
However, speaking on the subject before the decision, Obi is arguing that the court proceedings should be broadcast live.
Through his media assistant, Emeka Obasi, Obi spoke to our correspondent and pleaded with the tribunal to grant his application in the name of openness and democracy.
Transparency is necessary in the modern day, he declared. Four political parties are disputing the results of an election. It is highly anticipated that proceedings will be streamed live for people to follow for the sake of fairness and equity. Over 200 million people call Nigeria home. One thousand individuals cannot fit in the courtroom.
“Every interested Nigerian should have access to the proceedings of the most significant ruling in the nation’s history,” the statement reads. Therefore, if we are engaging in democracy, the tribunal’s only option is to give its approval.
The spokesperson for the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, backed up his principal’s claims by pointing out that approving the live broadcast would foster trust and revive “the hope of the common man as the judiciary is seen to be the hope of the common man, especially now that the judiciary is seen to also be on trial.”
PDP demands to broadcast
Debo Ologunagba, the PDP’s national publicity secretary, provided compelling justifications for the party’s demand for a live broadcast of the hearing in a phone interview with The PUNCH on Sunday.
He believed that in order to offer voters a sense of participation, the tribunal needed to accompany them throughout its proceedings.
“Live transmission is consistent with democracy,” he said, “since participatory democracy guarantees the right to know. As a party, we argue that elections are a procedure rather than a one-time occurrence.
In its recommendations for the elections held in accordance with the Electoral Act, the Independent National Electoral Commission exhorts parties to be transparent, and what the political parties did was typically broadcast on television.
“INEC observed the process that the parties’ internal election committees used to determine the candidates. That takes time. Everything was done in the open, from the party primaries to the sponsorship of candidates. The real election, run by INEC, comes next.
Voting, collation, counting, announcement, and proclamation of results were all done in the open and have been broadcast on television by INEC. For instance, INEC announced the results of the presidential election in the open and live on international television.
“The tribunal is the other component of the election.” We want the final proceeding, which involves the courts, to be broadcast live on television if the first two can be,” he said.
The live telecast, according to Mr. Paul Ibe, the media adviser to the PDP standard bearer, would increase the court’s transparency and would be primarily of interest to Nigerians.
“The live telecast is to give Nigerians who participated in the election as citizens, whether they voted or not, an opportunity to be involved in the process,” he continued. The live telecast is beneficial for transparency as well. Everyone is watching to see what the tribunal will make of the judiciary.
‘’Because this plea is being made on behalf of all Nigerians, regardless of their political affiliations, we believe the court should grant it. It will make sense to let Nigerians participate in the process. Because INEC is functioning like a political party in the election, we don’t know what it is saying. It should quit acting like a political party’s representative.
Let’s hope they aren’t concealing anything, or if they are, it’s something they don’t want Nigerians to know. Elections were held by the commission in defiance of its own regulations. The public should have access to real-time coverage of the tribunal’s proceedings.
The LP presidential candidate’s supporters, who went to social media on Sunday, are also pressing for a live broadcast of the court hearings.
They supported their candidate’s prayers by using a variety of hashtags, one of which read “#LivebroadcastInTheCourtRoom.”
Ndi Kato, a supporter of Peter Obi, stated: “We are hoping to have a live broadcast of the election tribunal on television stations, but the court on whose decision we are relying has now forbidden phones in the court. Nigeria, which way? Why is our legal system so flawed?
Malcom Omirhobo, a lawyer, pointed out that the INEC and the APC were against the live broadcast because they had “unclean hands.”
“INEC and Tinubu are opposing the live broadcast of P/election Tribunal proceedings because they turned Nigeria into a reality show by shambolically requesting that the opposition appears in court following the rigging of elections,” he claimed. They are now reluctant to amuse the world with their wrongdoing.
David Titiloye, a PDP member, also stated on Twitter: “The lawyers of the PDP have been insisting on the live broadcast of the presidential election tribunal because Atiku is confident that it will be harder for the judiciary to pervert justice when the entire country is watching, but APC and INEC have been insisting otherwise. Why ?”
Additionally, Yinka Yusuf, the senior pastor of Household of Love Church, tweeted: “Mr. Judiciary, please shock the world by authorizing live broadcast of the presidential election tribunal. Stop and search is the one thing that a thief fears. Attending court is not the same as joining a secret group. We eagerly anticipate congratulating the real victor.
As of Sunday at 2:50 p.m., 9,222 Nigerians had signed a petition calling for a live broadcast of the tribunal hearings.
The petition, headed “Live Broadcast The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal-PEPT,” was submitted by a citizen named Jane Peter and was addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the National Judicial Council, and another individual.
The petitioners argued that enabling live coverage of the hearings would guarantee the tribunal’s behavior would be transparent and open.
“We believe that by working to conclude the case and render its judgment before the inauguration date, the judiciary in Nigeria can also save time and earn the trust of Nigerians,” it added.
Not the opinions of people
Festus Keyamo, the chief spokesperson for the disbanded Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, insisted that the court should decide the case rather than the general public.
The senior attorney emphasized that Nigerians must appreciate that this is not the first time an election petition will be considered in the nation while asking them to await the tribunal’s ultimate decision.
I honestly don’t think this is a matter we should expose to press analysis, he remarked. We analyze the decision after it is made, not before. Be patient with us. I’m a senior member of the bar, so I can’t even start to guess.
“In our submission, we posed the question, ‘How does this help the case?’ Every action they recommend the court take would further the administration of justice.
“As for myself, I would rather wait to see what the court rules and then follow it. The case has been brought before the court for tomorrow’s (today’s) decision. Allow them to wait. In Nigeria, the court has already made decisions regarding election petitions. At the end of the day, justice will be done anyway.
Bala Ibrahim, the APC’s director of publicity, declined to comment further, stating that the case is in court.
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