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Why Atiku requested for live telecast of court proceedings – APC


The request by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for live telecast of proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) was intended to ridicule the court, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said.

It argued that since adequate provision had been made for the media, with free access to the proceedings, the request by Atiku and the PDP was unreasonable.

The claim was contained in the counter affidavit filed against the application by Atiku and the PDP by its team of lawyers led by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN).

According to the APC, the applicants’ claim that their application was in the interest of voters and the public was untenable because the courtroom was currently opened to the public, with huge television screen installed outside the courtroom to accommodate more people.

It added: “Televising of the proceedings (live) would not only compromise the integrity and impartiality of the proceedings but would violate the principles of fair trial, as witnesses may be influenced by the public opinion.

“Televising of election tribunal proceedings (live) will only cause unnecessary tension, violence, and unrest among the public, which may lead to a breach of the peace.

“The blanket television coverage being sought by the applicants herein for the proceedings is not public hearing, but for sensationalism media trial and public embarrassment to the judex before whom the proceedings are being conducted, the parties and their counsel.

“There is nothing unique or peculiar in the electoral dispute that emanated from the outcome of the 25th February 2023 election that is different from the earlier five presidential elections in the country since the advent of the Fourth Republic and if anything, the February 25 2023 election referred to, has the least litigation since 1999.

“This court, as currently constituted, in fidelity to the Constitution, is public and the court has not prevented any person from accessing this tribunal to observe proceedings.

“There are adequate spaces in the courtroom for any member of the public so interested in watching the proceedings of the petition before this honorable court and neither the press nor any member of the public has been prevented from watching the proceedings before this honorable court.

“The requirement of access to court has been met by this court, hence, the petitioners/applicants are only seeking to expand the right of access beyond its reasonable scope.

“The Judiciary, being the last hope of the common man, is not defined by granting of an application for live televising of its proceedings and it is not only the petitioners that believe in the Judiciary as the last hope of the common man.

“Witnesses, Justices, and parties to the petition will be greatly prejudiced and adversely affected as the anonymity of the witnesses will be taken away and judges will be exposed to social media sensationalism.”

“The practice of televising election tribunal proceedings is not recognised in Nigeria and surely set a bad precedent in a civil case of this nature that is very emotive and will open up the actors in the case to emotional embarrassment;

“Televising the proceedings has the tendency of impacting the fairness of the proceedings by influencing the panel, intimidating witnesses, and surely cause a distraction from the primary issues of this Petition.”


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