The Presidential Election Petition Court on Monday adjourned Peter Obi’s petition challenging the victory of Bola Tinubu in the 25 February poll.
A five-member of the court headed by Haruna Tsammani adjourned the suit until Wednesday, 10 May, after it entertained some preliminary issues from Mr Obi’s legal team led by Livy Uzoukwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Mr Obi, who was the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, came third in the election, but he is praying the court to nullify the polls owing to alleged malpractices by Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC.
Mr Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun, and Lateef Fagbemi, both SANs, informed the court they had filed their responses to the pre-hearing questions earlier raised by the court.
Thereafter, the court, which held its inaugural sitting Monday, adjourned Mr Obi’s petition until Wednesday, 10 May.
Mr Tinubu, who was declared the winner of the presidential election on the platform of the APC, is fighting to retain his victory amid opposition parties’ frantic call for an order to overturn his mandate.
One of the top contenders in the legal dispute, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has urged the Presidential Election Petition Court to allow a live broadcast of the court’s proceedings.
Atiku and the PDP who jointly filed their petition at the court are praying for “An order Directing the Court’s Registry and the parties on modalities for admission of media practitioners and their equipment into the courtroom.”
In the request filed by his lawyer, Chris Uche, a SAN, Atiku argued that the petitions before the court are “matters of national concern involving citizens who voted during the last election.”
READ ALSO: Atiku, PDP seek live broadcast of election petition court proceedings
Atiku further argued that the litigation presents a unique constitutional dimension for the court to determine.
“An integral part of the constitutional duty of the Court to hold proceedings in public is a discretion to allow public access to proceedings either physically or by electronic means.”
The petitioner further contended that the Court of Appeal’s adoption of virtual hearing and electronic filing permits the President Election Petition Court to transmit its proceedings live.
Citing the maxim that justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done, Atiku said, “Televising court proceedings is not alien to this Honourable Court, and will enhance public confidence.”
This newspaper reported a similar call by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, urging the court to grant permission to media houses to transmit the court’s proceedings live.
After the court heard three out of the five petitions against Mr Tinubu, it adjourned until Tuesday, 9 May, to hear Mr Atiku’s petition.
The court earlier held its inaugural sitting during which it assured all litigants that it would do justice to all parties to the case pending before it.
The court’s assurances came against the backdrop of Atiku’s doubts about the impartiality of the court to determine his petition without influence.
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