- Atiku, PDP apply for live coverage of court proceedings
The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal Abuja will today begin pre-hearing in the petitions challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission declared that Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress polled 8,794,726 votes to win the election.
The commission declared that Atiku came second with 6,984,520 votes, while it announced Labour Party’s Peter Obi as the second runner-up with 6,101,533 votes.
But Atiku, Obi and some other parties rejected the results announced by INEC and had approached the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to annul Tinubu’s victory.
On what to expect at today’s proceedings, a senior lawyer in Tinubu’s camp, who asked not to be named, said on Sunday that, “The only thing they will do is to schedule the hearing, the number of witnesses, how many minutes the witness will use, and how to admit the documents; that’s what they call pre-trial.
“They are going to prepare a timetable for the hearing of the cases, the number of days to be spent by the petitioners, the number of days to be spent by the respondents, how do we take in the documents, certified true copy of the documents, are they going to be admitted like that or if there is an objection, how do we raise an objection to document?
“Will the court write a ruling on objection immediately or will the court write it in the cause of the main judgment? Those are the things that will happen tomorrow (Monday).”
Atiku, in his 66-page petition, is praying the tribunal to declare him winner of the poll or order a fresh election.
On his part, Obi, in his petition, is also praying the tribunal to nullify Tinubu’s election.
Meanwhile, the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have filed an application for an order to allow the live coverage of the daily court proceedings on the case they brought against the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, which begins today.
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.”
Atiku, who is a two time presidential candidate of the PDP, said the petition was a matter of national concern and public interest.
His argument is that the case involved citizens and electorates in the 36 states of the Federation who participated in the just concluded presidential polls while adding that the international community is interested in Nigeria’s electoral process.
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.
They also prayed the court to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Tinubu by the ruling All Progressives Congress, by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
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.