This Is Not Big Brother Naija: INEC, APC, Tinubu Oppose Live Proceedings


The Presidential Election Petition Court Reserves Ruling on Live Broadcast Application in Atiku’s Petition

In the ongoing petition by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Presidential Election Petition Court has deferred its ruling on the application for live broadcast of the proceedings. A panel of five justices of the PREPEC made this announcement yesterday, stating that the judgment was reserved. During the hearing, lawyers representing the parties involved presented arguments both in favor of and against the granting of the application.

Atiku and the PDP, who secured the second position in the presidential election held on February 25, passionately pleaded with the court to allow the televised coverage of the proceedings due to its immense significance. Chief Chris Uche, SAN, the legal representative for Atiku and the PDP, moved the application and also requested the court to issue an order outlining the specific details for implementing the live telecast.

Opposition to Live Broadcast of Atiku’s Petition Intensifies as INEC, Tinubu, and APC Express Concerns

In a heated development, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President-elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have firmly opposed the request for a live broadcast of the proceedings in Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s petition. In their arguments against the application, the respondents emphasized the inappropriateness of such a broadcast. Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, the lawyer representing INEC, contended that granting the request would undermine the solemnity and gravity of the court proceedings. He further expressed concerns that the presence of numerous cameras, including those pointed at the judges, would exert undue pressure on the proceedings.

Similarly, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, representing Tinubu, argued that live telecasting was unnecessary as the court proceedings were already being effectively covered by journalists present in the courtroom. Olanipekun also raised concerns about the safety and privacy of court staff, lawyers, and witnesses if the request were to be granted. He asserted that Nigeria was not yet prepared for live broadcasts of court proceedings, lacking the necessary facilities and laws to regulate their implementation.

Adding to the opposition, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, representing the APC, likened the live broadcast to the controversial “Big Brother Naija” series and warned of potential invasions of privacy, even for the judges. Fagbemi further cautioned that approving this request would set a precedent for other petitioners in governorship and National and State Houses of Assembly elections to demand live streaming of their proceedings.

Fagbemi highlighted the lack of adequate structure, facilities, and policy documents for live broadcasts, even in jurisdictions where they are allowed, noting that they are typically restricted and exclude certain sensitive moments, such as when witnesses provide evidence.

After hearing the arguments from all parties involved, Justice Haruna Tsammani announced that judgment would be reserved and communicated at a later date. Additionally, during the harmonization report, it was disclosed that the parties had agreed not to oppose the documents originating from INEC regarding the conduct of the February 25 presidential election. However, these documents must be properly certified as true reflections of the original copies, following the legal provisions for admissibility of documents. These resolutions were conveyed to the five-member panel of justices overseeing the joint petition by Atiku and the PDP, challenging the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the disputed election.

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