The tribunal is not a stadium or a marketplace and its business cannot be trivialised, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) ruled yesterday while dismissing prayers for a live broadcast of proceedings.
The court dismissed two applications by Atiku Abubakar/Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi/Labour Party (LP) for live telecast/streaming.
The Presiding Justice (PJ), Haruna Tsammani, in the lead ruling, held that live transmission of proceedings was not provided for under the law.
According to him, the requirement that the court sits in public “does not mean that it should sit in a stadium or in a marketplace”.
Besides, he added that the court had made sufficient arrangements for public participation as required.
The judge added that there was no way televising the proceedings could advance the interest of a fair hearing for parties, or aid the interest of the petitioners in relation to issues raised in their petitions.
He said granting the request by Atiku and the PDP could trivialise the business of the court.
Justice Tsammani held that whether or not to televise the proceedings was a decision to be taken by either the President of the Court of Appeal or the National Judicial Council (NJC) as was done during the COVID-19 era when policy directions were drawn up for virtual court sittings.
Other members of the five-member panel agreed with the lead ruling.
Justice Misiturat Bolaji-Yusuf said: “The avoidance of the trial by ordeal of the camera will better serve the interest of justice in this case. Allowing live broadcast is a distraction.”
Justice Boloukuromo Ugo said the sensitive and delicate nature of election petitions should not be compared to the trials of O. J. Simpson (in the US) and Oscar Pistorius (in South Africa).