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Presidential Tribunal: Anxiety as APC, PDP, LP awaits court ruling on live telecast today

APC, PDP, and LP awaits court ruling on live telecast of Petition hearing today

The much-talked-about application for the live telecast of the presidential election petition tribunal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party will get a ruling today, Monday, May 22.

However, there is a call against the application by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) which is seeking a dismissal of the application by the court.

In a counter-argument against APC’s position, the PDP and the Labour Party stated that the essence of adopting the live telecast for the proceedings at the tribunal is to erase doubts from the minds of Nigerians who already losing faith in the judiciary.

On Friday, May 5, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the PDP filed the application for the live telecast of proceedings.

The Labour Party much later filed a similar suit praying to the court to allow the love coverage of proceedings inside the courtroom in what will enable electorates and Nigerians to have firsthand information about the ongoing tribunal.

However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the president-elect, Bola Tinubu and the APC all filed a counter-suit against the PDP and the Labour Party.

The trio prayed to the court to dismiss their application with the counsel of the APC, Lateef Fagbemi telling the court not to turn the court into “a Big Brother electoral series.”

Similarly, the counsel to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, said:

“The court is a public place and is accessible to all, subject to the availability of space.”

On the part of the counsel to the president-elect, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), noted that approval of the live telecast of proceedings would expose the jurors and the lawyers in danger.

Following the presentation of the argument by all concerned parties on Thursday, May 18, the tribunal told all the appearing attorneys that it would reserve its ruling until Monday, May 22.

Reacting to this development, Emeka Obasi, the spokesperson for Peter Obi appealed to the tribunal to rule in favour of the party as the decision would foster transparency in the whole process.

As reported by Punch, 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.”

Similarly, the PDP through its national publicity secretary, Debo Ologunagba said the demand for the live coverage of proceedings is to carry along citizens and electorates.

He said: “Live telecast is consistent with democracy because participatory democracy provides that the people have the right to know. As a party, we are saying that elections are a process, not an event.

‘’The Independent National Electoral Commission in its guidelines to the elections under the Electoral Act enjoins parties to be transparent and in most cases, what the political parties did were televised.’’

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