As part of efforts to ensure transparency and fairness in the judicial sector, which was earlier demanded by political groups and some stakeholders, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal will today determine whether proceedings at the Tribunal will be broadcasted live.
It was gathered that this comes as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), and the All Progressives Congress (APC) locks horns over the live broadcasting of the tribunal’s sessions.
Recall that PDP and LP strongly advocate for the live broadcast, asserting that it would dispel any doubts about the transparency of the judiciary and ensure fairness in the process. Conversely, the APC opposes this stance, arguing that it would not contribute to the pursuit of justice.
The PDP, led by its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, who finished second in the February 25 election, has formally requested that the tribunal’s sessions be broadcasted live to keep the Nigerian public informed about the proceedings.
In their application, Atiku and the PDP, represented by lawyer Chris Uche, have urged the court to establish guidelines for media practitioners and their equipment within the courtroom.
However, the LP and its candidate, Peter Obi, have submitted a similar application, emphasising the importance of providing real-time information to the Nigerian populace, who are stakeholders in the election petition proceedings.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the president-elect, and the APC vehemently oppose these applications, deeming them unnecessary. They argue that the formulation of court policies lies outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction.
Counsel for the APC, Lateef Fagbemi, cautioned the court against transforming the proceedings into a mere “Big Brother electoral series.” At the same time, Wole Olanipekun, the president-elect’s lawyer, expressed concerns about potential risks to judges and lawyers if live broadcasting were approved.
Ahead of the tribunal’s ruling, Peter Obi insists on live broadcasting, stating, “In this modern age, transparency is essential. With four political parties disputing the election, fairness and equity dictate that the processes be streamed live for the public to follow.”
Contrarily, Festus Keyamo, Chief Spokesman for the dissolved Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, maintains that the issue should be resolved through the court rather than by public opinion.