Court Rejects Request to Live-Stream Presidential Election Petitions
Abuja, Nigeria (May 22, 2023) – The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has rejected a request to live-stream the proceedings of the petitions challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
The court, which is sitting in Abuja, ruled on Monday that there is no regulatory framework or policy direction that would allow it to grant such a request.
The court also held that allowing cameras in the courtroom is a major judicial policy that must be supported by the law.
“The court can only be guided and act in accordance with the practice directions and procedures approved by the President of the Court of Appeal,” said Justice Haruna Tsammani, who led the five-member panel. “We cannot permit a situation that may lead to dramatization of our proceedings.”
The request to live-stream the proceedings was made by the two major candidates who are challenging the outcome of the election: former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi.
Atiku and Obi argued that televising the proceedings would benefit the electorate by allowing them to follow the case closely and make informed decisions about their vote in future elections.
However, the court rejected this argument, saying that the petitioners had failed to establish how televising the proceedings would advance their case.
The court also expressed concern that live-streaming the proceedings could lead to undue pressure on witnesses and could create a circus-like atmosphere in the courtroom.
The decision by the PEPC to reject the request to live-stream the proceedings is a setback for transparency and accountability in the Nigerian judiciary.
It is also a missed opportunity to educate the public about the electoral process and to build public trust in the courts.
Despite the court’s decision, the petitions against Tinubu are still ongoing.
The court is expected to deliver its verdict on the petitions in the coming weeks.