The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have submitted a request for an order allowing live coverage of daily proceedings on the case they brought against the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, as the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, begins hearings on Monday.
Atiku, who finished second in the February 25 presidential election, asked for “An order, directing the Court’s Registry and the parties on modalities for admission of Media Practitioners and their Equipments into the courtroom” in a motion he submitted through his legal team, which was led by Chief Chris Uche, SAN.
The PDP candidate and former Vice President argued that the petition he filed against the President-elect was “a matter of national concern and public interest”.
According to him, the complaint concerned electorates and residents from the 36 States of the Federation and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, who he claimed cast ballots and took part in the presidential election.
Furthermore, he pointed out to the court that the international community has the same interest in matters relating to Nigeria’s election process.
In the motion dated May 5, Atiku and the PDP insisted that their case against Tinubu was one of public interest because millions of Nigerian citizens and voters are stakeholders and have the constitutional right to participate in the proceedings.
They described it as an unusual electoral dispute with a peculiar constitutional dimension. A decision to permit physical or electronic public access to hearings is a crucial component of the Court’s constitutional obligation to hold proceedings in public.
The maxim that justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done is in line with the enormous and tremendous technological advancements and developments in Nigeria and beyond, including the current trend by this Honourable Court towards embracing electronic procedures, virtual hearing, and electronic filing.
Accordingly, a departure from the Rules to allow a controlled telecast of the proceedings in this matter is in accordance with this maxim.
The petitioners said, “Televising judicial sessions is not foreign to this Honourable judicial and would increase public confidence.