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Court Dismisses Atiku, Obi's Request For Live Coverage Of Proceedings

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The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) had on 22nd May 2023, dismissed the call for live broadcast of proceedings by the presidential candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and the presidential candidate of Labour Pary (LP) Peter Obi, against the election and declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the last presidential election. Citing section 36 of the Nigerian constitution, a five-member panel of court led by Mr. Haruna Tsammani held that fair hearing of court proceedings “does not amount to conducting court sittings on television or in a stadium.”

“The request (for a live broadcast of the court proceedings) has no utilitarian value. Live broadcast of court proceedings has no provisions in our statutory books,” Mr. Tsammani noted. “There is nowhere in the constitution and Electoral Act for televising court sittings.”

The court further held that the issue of a live broadcast of court hearings has to be “a judicial policy” that would be put in place by the heads of courts. “Live broadcast of proceedings is a judicial policy,” he said.

Mr. Tsammani said, “We cannot permit a procedure that dramatizes the court’s proceedings. “This application is devoid of merit and it is accordingly dismissed,” the court said.

The court also held that the case of Oscar Pistorius, O.J Simpsons, and others cited by petitioners in their application does not apply to the Nigerian judiciary. The panel further held that for the court to do that, judicial policies and regulatory frameworks have to be put in place.

In a separate ruling, the court also rejected the application by the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, seeking to televise the proceedings of the court. The court dismissed the application on the same grounds it dismissed that of Atiku and the PDP.