April 17, 2024

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TRIBUNAL: INEC, Tinubu, APC Kick Against Atiku’s Request For Live Telecast

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By Simeon OSAJIE

The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress, (APC), have kicked against the request of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate and former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku for the live telecast of his petition challenging the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.

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In their separate objections today, 18th May, 2023, the trio insisted that the solemn nature of the court would be put in jeopardy if granted.

In his vehement objections raised by Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN on his behalf of Tinubu, said that Atiku’s request was not only surprising but dangerous as it was capable of prejudicing the court itself.

Olanipekun told the five Justices that Atiku should not be allowed to turn the court into a football stadium, a crusade ground, a theatre or film grounds where all manners of telecast could be permitted.

The senior lawyer said that the court should not grant an order that cannot be enforced or supervised, adding that the present moment is not the best time for such a request to be granted.

Olanipekun warned that the request, if granted, could expose judicial officers to avoidable dangers and demanded that high costs be imposed on Atiku for making the request.

Lateef Fagbemi SAN, who opposed on behalf of APC, added that the facility and policy documents are not there for the application to be granted.

He said that Atiku failed to disclose injuries he would suffer if the request was not granted, adding that at the moment, nobody, including Atiku, had complained of inadequate coverage of the proceedings so far.

Fagbemi insisted that Atiku did not deserve to be granted the request.

The electoral body, in its own objections by its counsel, Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud SAN, said that the courtroom is for serious business and not a marketplace where anything goes, adding that the request for live coverage is unnecessary and uncalled for and should not be granted.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, has reserved ruling on whether to grant the request or not.

Atiku had approached the court hearing his case against the outcome of the February 25 presidential polls for an order allowing live broadcast of the day-to-day proceedings regarding his petition because of its monumental importance.

Atiku and the PDP, in the application, specifically prayed the tribunal for “An order Directing the Court’s Registry and the parties on modalities for admission of Media Practitioners and their Equipment into the courtroom.”

The application filed on their behalf by their team of lawyers led by Chief Chris Uche, SAN, is predicated, amongst other grounds that “The matter before the Honourable Court is a dispute over the outcome of the Presidential Election held on 25th February 2023, a matter of national concern and public interest, involving citizens and voters in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, who voted and participated in the said election; and the International Community as regards the workings of Nigeria’s Electoral Process”.

They contended that being a unique electoral dispute with a peculiar constitutional dimension, it is a matter of public interest whereof millions of Nigerian citizens and voters are stakeholders with a constitutional right to receive.

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