We are already under pressure, don’t want more – INEC opposes live broadcast of election tribunal proceedings

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has opposed the application for the live broadcast of proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT).

The electoral body on Thursday opposed the application filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, arguing that doing so will “only defeat the solemn atmosphere of the court.”

Abubakar Mahmoud, counsel to INEC, argued that since the court was already opened to the public, there was no need to stream proceedings. He said they were under pressure and not ready to face more by having cameras on their faces.

“We urge your lordship to refuse this application,” Mr Mahmud prayed. “It is unnecessary and uncalled for. It will defeat the essence of administration of justice.

“In all the jurisdictions that I’m aware of, live-streaming is not the same as televising it. In other countries, It is controlled by the court.

“Bringing cameras into the courtroom will defeat the solemn atmosphere of the courtroom. The courtroom is not for theatrics. It is for serious business.

“We don’t want to be put under additional pressure of cameras beaming in our faces,” INEC said.

APC, Tinubu align

Aligning with INEC’s position, Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC), said live streaming proceedings was akin to the Big Brother Naija reality show.

President-Elect Bola Tinubu represented by Wole Olanipekun, argued the court to dismiss the application because “the court is not a stadium or a crusade ground. It is not a theatre or circus.”

Mr Atiku and the PDP while fielding the application said the move will enhance public confidence.

“There is no single legislative or statutory position against it,” argued their lawyer, Chris Uche.

All the respondents’ counsel prayed the court to dismiss the application.

Meanwhile, all parties in the suit have agreed that materials certified by INEC which would be tendered during the hearing will not be objected to.

The court has adjourned the matter to Friday for continuation.