Tuesday 23 May 2023

Tribunal rejects live broadcast, S’Court decides anti-Tinubu suit Friday



The Presidential Election Petition Court on Monday refused a request for a live broadcast of its proceedings, stating that the application lacked merit.

The five-member panel of the court headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani, held that Nigeria’s judicial policies and legislative framework had no place for live telecast of court sessions.

The rejection of the applications filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its standard bearer, Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party and its candidate, Peter Obi, was handed down on Monday as the Supreme Court fixed Friday for judgment in a suit seeking the disqualification of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu and Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima.

The suit was brought by the PDP through its counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, alleging that Shettima had double nomination as a senatorial candidate and later, presidential running mate.

The party wants the apex court to upturn the verdict of the Court of Appeal which dismissed the appeal on the grounds of locus standi.

In their respective motions, Atiku and Obi had prayed to the court for an order directing its registry and the parties on modalities for admission of media practitioners and their equipment into the courtroom.

They equally argued that the live broadcast of the proceedings would remove any doubts about the transparency of the judiciary and promote fairness.

But the respondents the Independent National Electoral Commission, the president-elect and the APC – opposed the applications, insisting that they related to policy formulation of the court, which is outside the PEPC’s jurisdiction as constituted.

Arguing the motion, Chris Uche, counsel for Atiku and the PDP said, “There is no single legislative or statutory position against it.”

According to him, a live broadcast doesn’t necessarily mean the faces of the justices would be shown.

In his submission, Abubakar Mahmoud, counsel for the electoral commission, averred that a live broadcast “will only defeat the solemn atmosphere of the court.”

The president-elect represented by Wole Olanipekun, SAN, expressed surprise over the application saying, “The court is not a stadium or a crusade ground. It is not a theatre or circus.”

Tribunal Explains Rejection

However, the court in its ruling held the petitioners’ submission on public proceedings “does not mean the court must sit in a stadium or a market square.”

“The application is a novel one in this country. It is not provided for in any of our rules or procedures,’’ the PEPC ruled.

The court also held that the case of Oscar Pistorius, O.J Simpsons and others cited by the petitioners in their application did not apply to the Nigerian judiciary.

The panel further held that for the court to okay the application, judicial policies and regulatory frameworks would be put in place.

In a separate ruling, the court also rejected the application by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate seeking to televise the proceedings of the court.

The court dismissed the application on the same grounds as Atiku and the PDP.

Asked if the former vice-president planned to appeal the ruling, the Media Adviser to Atiku, Paul Ibe said the demand for the live telecast was in the interest of the people, adding that his principal would rather focus on the main issue rather than dissipate energy on an appeal.

“One of the senior lawyers has spoken and he said there’s no need for appeal. It (rejection of live telecast by the tribunal) has happened, and we will move on. Live telecast was not a substantive issue, but we demanded it for the sake of transparency.


Author: verified_user


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