Presidential Poll Tribunal: Court Rules On Live Broadcast Today


Ahead of today’s ruling on the application for live transmission of the proceedings of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, the Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party and the All Progressives Congress have disagreed over the need for the hearing to be broadcast by the media.

The PDP and LP told newsmen on Sunday that the live telecast of the court sittings would remove any doubts about the transparency of the judiciary and promote fairness, but the APC argued that it would not advance the course of justice.

The PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who came second behind the President-elect, Bola Tinubu in the February 25 election, had prayed the tribunal to broadcast its sittings live to Nigerians to enable them to have firsthand information of the processes that would guide the tribunal in determining the authentic winner of the contest.


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Atiku and the PDP in an application dated May 5, filed by their counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, specifically prayed to the court for an order directing the court’s registry and the parties on modalities for admission of media practitioners and their equipment into the courtroom.

The LP and its standard bearer, Peter Obi filed a similar application through their lead counsel, Awa Kalu, SAN, in which they argued that Nigerians being stakeholders have a right to have real-time information about the election petition proceedings.

However, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the president-elect and the APC vehemently opposed the application, describing it as frivolous.

They argued that the application relates to policy formulation of the court, which is outside the PEPC’s jurisdiction as constituted.

Counsel for APC, Lateef Fagbemi, asked the court not to concede the request to turn the court into “a Big Brother electoral series.”

The counsel to the president-elect, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, noted that the live broadcast if approved, would expose both the judges and lawyers to danger while the counsel to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, argued that the application was needless since already, “the court is a public place and is accessible to all, subject to the availability of space.”

After hearing the arguments from all the parties last Thursday, the court reserved a ruling on the application till Monday (today).

But speaking on the issue ahead of the ruling, Obi is insisting on the live broadcast of the court proceedings.

Obi, who spoke to our correspondent through his media aide, Emeka Obasi, urged the tribunal to rule in favour of his application in the interest of transparency and democracy.

He said, “We are in the modern age where transparency is required. An election is being disputed by four political parties. To be fair and for equity, it is very much expected that processes are steamed live for people to follow. We are talking about over 200 million Nigerians. The courtroom cannot contain 1,000 people.

“Every interested Nigerian should be given the access to see for himself or herself the proceedings of the most important ruling in the history of the country. So, if we are practising democracy, the tribunal has nothing other than to approve the live streaming.”

Buttressing his principal’s arguments, the Spokesperson for Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko noted that the approval of the live broadcast would build trust and restore “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 also to be on trial.”

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