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Possible Opposition to Live Broadcast of Proceedings by INEC, APC, and Tinubu

Reports suggest that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), All Progressives Congress (APC), and the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, may oppose the request by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for a live broadcast of the proceedings of the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja. PDP has insisted on live media coverage of the proceedings, saying it has a watertight case against APC and Tinubu. At a pre-hearing session on May 9, Atiku and PDP’s lead lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, urged the court to give priority to the application for live media coverage. The respondents, including INEC, Tinubu, and APC, admitted to being served the application, and they would respond accordingly and within the timeframe permitted by the law. Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned the matter till Thursday for continuation of pre-hearing. On May 7, Atiku and PDP filed an application, seeking the court’s permission for television stations to carry a live broadcast of the day-to-day proceedings regarding their petition. They based the application on grounds that it was a dispute over the outcome of the presidential election, a matter of national concern and public interest. They contended that being a unique electoral dispute with a peculiar constitutional dimension, it was a matter of public interest whereof millions of Nigerian citizens and voters were stakeholders with a constitutional right to receive. Atiku and PDP stated that “televising court proceedings is not alien to this honourable court and will enhance public confidence.” The PDP explained that it would enhance public confidence and transparency, and since INEC declared the results of the presidential election through a live telecast, there would be nothing wrong with a live telecast as it would enhance public confidence in the entire process.

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