The Presidential Election Petition Court convened on Thursday to consider the request made by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to allow live television coverage of the ongoing election petition proceedings.
During the session, all parties involved in the petition agreed to accept documents certified by the Independent Electoral Commission without objections.
The PDP and Atiku, represented by their counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, appealed to the court for an order permitting the live broadcast of the proceedings, highlighting the significant importance of the case. They argued that as stakeholders, Nigerians have the right to real-time information about the election petition proceedings.
However, all respondents to the petition, including INEC, the president-elect Bola Tinubu, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), vehemently opposed the application. Among their arguments, they contended that the court should not be treated as a circus, film house, or theater, but rather as a space for serious and solemn matters.
Lateef Fagbemi, the counsel for the APC, urged the court not to grant the request to turn the proceedings into a reality TV show akin to Big Brother.
After hearing arguments from all parties, the court adjourned for a five-minute recess.
The PUNCH had previously reported that Tinubu and Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima urged the court to dismiss the application for a live broadcast of the proceedings by Atiku and the PDP. They claimed that the relief sought by the applicants was not within the court’s jurisdiction to grant.
“The motion is an abuse of the processes of this honorable court,” the respondents stated, adding that the court was not a platform for entertainment like a soapbox, stadium, or theater. They questioned why the petitioner would file an application aimed at distracting the court and wasting its time.
In their counter affidavit, presented by their legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, they argued that the application concerned the court’s policy formulation, which falls outside the jurisdiction of the Presidential Election Petition Court as currently constituted.
“The application also relates to the powers and jurisdiction vested in the President of the Court of Appeal by the Constitution, which this honorable court cannot entertain in its current composition,” they stated.
They further emphasized that the application was intended to consume the court’s valuable judicial time and had no direct bearing on the petition before the court.
“It is in the interest of justice for this honorable court to dismiss the said application filed by the petitioners,” they concluded.