Why Presidential Tribunal dismiss live streaming request by LP, PDP


“Live streaming of proceedings is a policy matter and the court cannot grant it without adequate legislation.

The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja, on Monday, refused a request brought before it by the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and that of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi and their parties seeking live broadcast of proceedings of their petitions against the declaration of Bola Tinubu as winner of the February 25 presidential election.

Atiku and Obi, along with their parties had, in their various motions, prayed the court for an order allowing live broadcast of proceedings, as well as an order directing the modalities for the live broadcast, citing national importance as reason.

The petitioners argued that the issue of live broadcast was not alien in the country.

Ruling on Atiku’s motion, the court held that the request was novel and not supported with any law in the country for now.

Justice Haruna Tsammani, who delivered the unanimous decision of the five-member panel, said televising the proceedings will not advance the case of the petitioners, adding that, the court was constituted to hear and determine petitions in accordance with the law and practice directions by the President of the Court of Appeal.

Tsammani added that the practice direction does not include allowing that proceedings be televised as requested by the petitioners and that the court will not allow a situation that will affect the proceedings.

The court held that having proceedings televised required a judicial policy, adding: “This application is devoid of merit and is accordingly dismissed.”

Justice Tsammani, while ruling on the application for live broadcast filed by the LP candidate and his party, held that Obi  failed to cite any authority to back up the request for the live broadcast of proceedings.

Tsammani held there must be a legal framework before live streaming of court proceedings could be allowed.

He argued that in other jurisdictions where live streaming of proceedings were allowed, there was a legal policy backing it.

He further held that Obi did not disclose what he stands to lose if the proceedings were not televised live

“Live streaming of proceedings is a policy matter and the court cannot grant it without adequate legislation.

“This motion lacks merit and it is accordingly dismissed,” Justice Tsammani said.

Meanwhile, while all the petitioners: Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Atiku, the PDP, Obi and the Labour Party  are in support of the consolidation of the three petitions against Tinubu’s election, the president-elect, Tinubu and his party have kicked against consolidation of the petitions challenging the outcome of the February poll.

Counsel for INEC, Kemi Pinhero (SAN) said the electoral umpire was indifferent and would abide with the decision of the court on the issue of consolidation.

The APC, Tinubu, the vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima and Kabiru Masari, the fifth respondent in the petition, through their counsel, vehemently opposed consolidation.

The respondents held that the interest of justice would not be served if the petitions were consolidated.

He premised his argument on the grounds raised by parties were not the same, urging the court not to consolidate the petitions.

Charles Edosomwan (SAN), who represented the APC in the Monday proceedings argued that, the trial would be un-yielding if the petitions were consolidated.

Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), representing Tinubu and Shetimma told the court that paragraph 50 to the first schedule of the Electoral Act did not make it mandatory for the court to consolidate the petitions because of the limitations therein.

“When an exercise of power is subject to limitation by some conditions, it cannot be said that such exercise is mandatory. Justice is paramount in considering consolidation of petitions,” he said.

Olujinmi further submitted that the issues canvassed in each of the petition varies and that, it would be over-reaching for the respondents if consolidation is granted.

Meanwhile, Abubakar, counsel for APM, while informing the court of the agreement reached by parties on the time allocated to witnesses that would be called in the matter,  said the APM would be calling one witness to prove its case against the election of Tinubu as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

INEC and the APC said they will be calling one witness; Tinubu and Shetimma, through their counsel, said they will call three out of the five witnesses they off-loaded, while the remaining two will be subpoenaed.

The court adjourned till Tuesday, May 23 to present report on pre-hearing session in the petitions challenging Tinubu’s election.


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