INEC, Tinubu, APC kick against Atiku’s request for live telecast of Petition Court’s proceedings.


Court adjourns ruling indefinitely

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress APC have kicked against the request of the former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku
for live telecast of his petition challenging the declaration of Tinubu as winner of the 2023 presidential election.

In their separate objections on Thursday, the trio insisted that solemn nature of the court would be put in jeopardy if granted.

Tinubu in his vehement objections raised by Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN on his behalf 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 to 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 and 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 heavy cost be imposed on Atiku for making the request.

Lateef Fagbemi SAN who opposed on behalf of APC faulted the request adding 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 not complain 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 Court room is for serious business and not a market place 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.

Meanwhile, the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu have agreed not to oppose all documents that emanated from the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in the conduct of the February 25 presidential election.

The documents must however be certified as true reflection of the original copies in line with the provisions of the law guiding admissibility of documents.

These resolutions were on Thursday conveyed to the 5-man panel of Justices of the Presidential Election Petition Court hearing the joint petition of Atiku and PDP challenging the declaration of Tinubu as winner of the disputed election.

Chief Chris Uche SAN leading the legal team for Atiku conveyed the decisions of the lawyers to the Court at Thursday’s proceedings.

Tinubu, represented by legal luminary and several senior lawyers, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN corroborated the position of Atiku not to object to all certified documents from the electoral body.

The senior lawyers said that they jointly agreed to allow the documents to be freely scrutinized by the Court in order to arrive at just and fair conclusions in their judgment.

Leader of the legal team for the All Progressives Congress APC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN confirmed the same position to the Court.

He explained that they agreed to the decisions to allow the documents be tendered unhindered so as to make hearing of Atiku’s petition seamless.

The electoral body through its counsel, Mr Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud said that his client would be ready to make all the required documents available at the appropriate time as a way of ensuring speedy and expeditious hearing of all the petitions challenging the presidential election.