The Presidential Election Petitions Court sitting in Abuja on Monday rejected the application for live transmission of proceedings as made by the petitioners in the court.
A five-member panel of the court led by Haruna Tsammani held that the application lacked merit.
The President-elect Bola Tinubu, and the Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima, had stated that the application by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for a live broadcast of proceedings at the election petition tribunal is frivolous and a bid to waste the court’s time.
The application was made by presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, who earlier argued that holding public proceedings is in line with the “crucial components of the court’s constitutional obligation.”
Tinubu and Shettima urged the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to dismiss the application, noting that the court is not a soapbox, stadium or theatre where the public should be entertained.
They argued that the relief sought by the applicants are not such that the court could grant, while stating in the counter affidavit that the application relates to policy formulation of the court, which is outside the PEPC’s jurisdiction as constituted.
However, in a unanimous ruling on the interlocutory applications, the five-member panel of justices held that the request hinges on policy decision which can only be made by the judiciary.
Justice Haruna Tsammani, in the lead ruling by the chairman of the panel, held that the applications lacked merit and ought to be dismissed. They stated that the applications, which were hinged on sections 36(3) and 39 of the Nigerian Constition and Paragraph 19 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2022, which borders on fair hearing, were outside the provisions of the concept and outside the claims brought by the petitioners for the determination of the court.
He said fair hearing involved hearing both parties and providing equal opportunity to present their cases before the court and not to dramatise the trial through installing cameras in the courtroom.
“The mere sentimental claim that it (live broadcast of proceedings) will benefit the voters has no utilitarian value on the matters before the court,” he said.
Justice Haruna Tsammani said nobody could predict the implication of live broadcast of the proceedings, adding, “it is better for the avoidance of the trial by ordeal of live cameras in court.”