Parties at Odds as Presidential Poll Tribunal Decides on Live Broadcast Today
Ahead of the anticipated ruling on the live transmission of proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, conflicting opinions have emerged from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), and the All Progressives Congress (APC) regarding the necessity of media coverage. The PDP and LP advocate for transparency and fairness through live telecasts, while the APC argues against it, stating that it would not contribute to justice.The PDP, represented by its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, submitted an application on May 5, requesting the court to allow media practitioners and their equipment into the courtroom. The LP, led by Peter Obi, filed a similar application, emphasizing the right of Nigerians to have real-time information about the proceedings.In opposition to the applications, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the president-elect, and the APC characterized the requests as frivolous. They argued that the matter falls outside the jurisdiction of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal and expressed concerns over the potential risks associated with live broadcasts.Following the arguments presented by all parties last Thursday, the court reserved its ruling on the application until today (Monday).Ahead of the ruling, Peter Obi stands firm on the need for live broadcast of the court proceedings. Obi, through his media aide, Emeka Obasi, stressed the importance of transparency and democracy, urging the tribunal to rule in favor of the application.Echoing Obi’s sentiments, the Spokesperson for the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, highlighted the significance of building trust and restoring faith in the judiciary, particularly as it is currently under scrutiny.The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, emphasized that live telecasts align with democratic principles, enabling the public’s right to know and ensuring their participation. He pointed out that INEC’s guidelines already promoted transparency through televised processes such as voting, collation, counting, and result announcements.Similarly, the Media Adviser to Atiku Abubakar, Paul Ibe, asserted that live broadcasts would enhance the transparency of the court proceedings and provide Nigerians, regardless of their political affiliations, with an opportunity to witness the tribunal’s decisions. He criticized INEC for acting as if it were a political party and urged the court to grant the request.Supporters of Peter Obi on social media joined the call for live broadcasts, utilizing hashtags such as ‘#LivebroadcastInTheCourtRoom.’ Notably, a petition addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the National Judicial Council, and others, gathered over 9,222 signatures, urging the live transmission of tribunal proceedings for transparency and openness.Festus Keyamo, Chief Spokesman for the dissolved Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, stressed the importance of allowing the court to decide the matter rather than relying on public opinions. He urged patience, stating that justice would be served at the end of the day.The APC Director of Publicity, Bala Ibrahim, declined to comment further, citing the ongoing nature of the matter before the court.