As the Presidential Election Petition Court, starts hearing today, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have filed an application for an order to allow live coverage of day-to-day proceedings on the case they brought against the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.
In the motion by his legal team led by Chris Uche, SAN, he specifically applied for “An order directing the Court’s Registry and the parties on modalities for admission of Media Practitioners and their Equipment into the courtroom.”
The PDP candidate and former Vice President contended that the petition he lodged against the President-elect was “a matter of national concern and public interest.”
His argument is that the case involved citizens and electorates in the 36 sates of the Federation who participated in the just concluded presidential polls while adding that the international community is interested in Nigeria’s electoral process.
He drew the attention of the court to the fact that the International Community was equally interested in issues pertaining to Nigeria’s electoral process.
Atiku and PDP in the motion argued that their case against Tinubu, being a unique electoral dispute with a peculiar constitutional dimension, was a matter of public interest in which millions of Nigerian citizens and voters, who is stakeholders, with the constitutional right to be part of the proceedings.
In their motion, they are also contending that, “With the huge and tremendous technological advances and developments in Nigeria and beyond, including the current trend by this court towards embracing electronic procedures, virtual hearing and electronic filing, a departure from the rules to allow a regulated televising of the proceedings in this matter is in consonance with the maxim that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.
“Televising court proceedings is not alien to this court, and will enhance public confidence”, the petitioners noted.
Atiku in his joint petition with the PDP, prayed the court to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Tinubu by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
He maintained that the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election was “invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.”
According to him, the decision to declare Tinubu, winner of the presidential election “invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022”
But in a reply through his team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Tinubu, queried the legal competence of petitions seeking to invalidate his election victory.
In a preliminary objection he entered before the court, Tinubu, described Atiku as a consistent serial loser that had since 1993, crisscrossed different political parties, in search of power.
Recall that Tinubu had been declared the winner of the presidential election after scoring a total of 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku who polled a total of 6,984,520 votes and Obi who came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes.