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INEC, Tinubu Oppose Atiku Abubakar’s Application for Live Television Coverage of Petition




All Progressives Congress (APC), the President-elect, Sen. Bola Tinubu and INEC on Thursday opposed an application for live television coverage of proceedings in a petition filed by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Alhaji Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the presidential election of Feb.

25 filed the petition to challenge the declaration of Tinubu of the APC as winner by INEC.

Abubakar, the first runner-up at the election filed his petition at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).

The Vice-President-elect, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, another respondent, also opposed the application for live television coverage of the proceedings.

Arguing separately when the matter was called at the PEPC, the respondents said live telecast of proceedings could ridicule the traditional solemn nature of court proceedings.

Opposing Abubakar’s motion, counsel for INEC, Mr Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), said the court proceedings were already open to the public.

“There is an implicit suggestion in the application that unless the proceeding is televised, it is not public.

“This is not true as the courtroom is a public place and it is accessible to all, subject to availability of space,’’ he submitted.

On Abubakar’s submission in the motion that there was no statutory legislation preventing live television coverage, Mahmoud said live streaming was different from televising live.

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He added that live streaming was controlled by the court and no live cameras were allowed into the court room.

He also argued that live telecast would make nonsense of the court proceedings since the courtroom was not a market place for theatrics.

He submitted that lawyers did not need to be under any more pressure than they already were with cameras in their faces.

The INEC counsel prayed the court to refuse the application as it was unnecessary, uncalled for and would defeat the essence of the administration of justice.

Arguing on behalf of Tinubu and Shettima, their counsel, Mr Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who described the application as a peculiar one said Abubakar’s request was not only surprising, but dangerous.

Olanipekun prayed the court not to allow Abubakar to turn the court into a film house, a stadium, a crusade ground or a theatre where live telecasts were allowed.

The senior lawyer wondered whether even an Area Court could grant such order since it could not be enforced or supervised.

He also wondered why the petitioner, rather than ask for expeditious hearing of the petition was wasting time on application for live television coverage.

He prayed the court to not only dismiss the application but to impose a heavy cost on the petitioner.

Arguing on behalf of the APC, Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) opposed the application and faulted the request arguing that the facility and policy documents were not there for the application to be granted.

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Fagbemi held that the application was baseless as there was no allegation that there was no adequate coverage of proceedings.

“There is no allegation anywhere that the proceedings are not adequately covered.

“There is a distinction between trial for the public and trial in public; I have adopted trial in public.

“There is a special gallery outside the courtroom and special provision has been made for the public to use it.

“It will be like opening the floodgates to accede to such request as a precedent would have been set even for governorship election petition tribunals and the others,’’ he said,

Fagbemi added that the petitioner had failed to disclose what injury would be done to the petition if the application was not granted.

He prayed the court to dismiss the application as granting it would be synonymous to turning the court’s proceedings into a semblance of the “Big Brother Naija’’ show.

Arguing earlier in support of the application, Mr Chris Uche (SAN), counsel to Abubakar, said that there was no legislative or statutory provision against the application.

According to Uche, the fact that it has not been done before does not mean that it cannot be done.

“The respondents have decided to trivialise it by likening it to Big Brother Naija, but there was an Oputa Panel which had live coverage and the nation benefitted from it.

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“Nobody will be prejudiced by the live coverage, but the nation will benefit greatly from the live coverage.

“Moreover, if the results, as we contend were not transmitted live, let the proceedings be transmitted,’’ he submitted.

Uche said the petitioner was not asking that the cameras should show the judges live, but to show only the lawyers and the proceedings.

Having listened to all arguments, Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Tsammani, reserved ruling on whether to grant the request or not.

Alh Abubakar had approached the PEPC seeking an order allowing live broadcast of the day-to-day proceedings on his petition.

He said the petition was of monumental importance to the nation.

In the application, Abubakar and the PDP specifically prayed the court for an order directing the court’s registry and parties on modalities for admission of media practitioners and their equipment into the courtroom.

They contended that being a unique electoral dispute with a peculiar Constitutional dimension, it was a matter of public interest where millions of Nigerians and voters were stakeholders with Constitutional rights. (NAN)

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Presidential Election Petition Court Adjourns Hearing of APM’s  Petition Until June 9




The Presidential Election Petition Court on Friday in Abuja, adjourned hearing of the petition filed by the Allied Peoples Movement, (APM), against the All Progressives Congress,  (APC) and others to give the petitioner more time to obtain a certified true copy of the Supreme Court Judgment, delivered on May 26.

The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the judgement according to counsel to President Bola Tinubu, Mr Wole Olanipekun, SAN, had settled the issue raised in the petition of the APM.

He said that the judgement of the Supreme Court of May 26 delivered in a suit instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) marked SC/CV/501/2023 against the APC on similar grounds had resolved  the issue of place holder.

According to him, the petition does not stand as the Supreme Court has laid to rest the sole issue the petitioners are asking for, which is also challenging APC’s victory on grounds of using a placeholder, Kabiru Masari in place of Kashim. Shettima

When the matter was called, Counsel to the APM, Mr Yakubu Maikasuwa, SAN  said that although the matter was adjourned to enable them peruse the apex court’s judgment and take a decision, they had been unable to get the judgment.

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“My lords, we have not been able to get the judgment so I am unable to take a position on the status of the petition.

“I therefore apply for an adjournment as we are doing all we can to get the judgement so we can take a position on the status of the petition.”

All the respondent in the matter did not oppose the application for an adjournment.

The five-man panel chaired by Justice Haruna Tsammani therefore adjourned hearing of the petition until June 9 to enable petitioners obtain the said judgment. (NAN) 

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PEPC Admits Exhibits of 6 States in Evidence Against Tinubu’s Election




The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), has admitted in evidence, exhibits from the Labour Party and Mr Peter Obi in six additional states to prove their allegation of irregularities in the Feb. 25 Presidential Election.

The petitioners on Thursday, tendered exhibits in six states including Rivers, Benue, Cross River, Niger, Osun and Ekiti states.

At Friday’s proceedings, the petitioners tendered exhibits in six other states including Adamawa

Bayelsa, Oyo, Edo, Lagos and Akwa Ibom.

The exhibits were certified true copies of  Forms EC8A used in the  presidential election.

The petitioners presented  forms EC8A for 21 local government areas of Adamawa and eight local government areas of Bayelsa.

Others are 31 local government areas of Oyo, 18 local government areas of Edo, 20 local government areas of Lagos state and 31 local government areas of Akwa Ibom.

Counsel to all the respondents in the petition objected  to the documents being admitted in evidence but withheld their reasons until their  final addresses.

Mr Peter Afoba, SAN, who handled Friday’s proceedings on behalf of Obi and the Labour Party thereafter prayed the court for an adjournment having exhausted all the documents they had to tender for the day.

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Afoba prayed the court to deem all  the admitted documents as been read but all the respondents refused to give their consent to the request on the grounds that they had objected to the documents being admitted in evidence.

The court chaired by Justice Haruna Tsammani subsequently adjourned further hearing of the petition until June 5. (NAN)

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Plateau LG Chairmen Take Mutfwang to Court Over Suspension 




The Chairmen of the 17 local governments of Plateau have taken Gov. Caleb Mutfwang to court over their suspension from office.

Mr Alex Na’antuam, Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) Plateau chapter, who briefed newsmen on Friday in Jos said that their purported suspension was unconstitutional.

Na’antuam who is the Chairman of Shendam Local Government told journalists that in any event, “the power to remove the chairmen for any gross misconduct does not reside with the House of Assembly or the governor” 

The ALGON chairman stated that the  procedure for removing a local government chairman is explicitly set out in Section 37 of the Local Government Council Law.

He stated that just like the governor, who cannot be suspended from office because he is the chief executive of the state, so it is with the chairmen of local government councils.

“Before the purported suspension, the 17 local government chairmen and the legislative councils had approached the court.

“We went there to invoke its interpretative jurisdiction to determine, among others, whether the governor has the power to terminate, suspend, truncate, or disturb our tenure in the light of Section 7 of the constitution.

“The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed.

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“Pursuant to the said suit, we filed a motion for interlocutory injunction seeking the court’s order of interlocutory injunction restraining the governor, either by himself or his privies, from disturbing, disputing, terminating, suspending, or truncating the tenure of the local government chairmen and the legislative council,” he stated.

He  said that their attention was on Thursday drawn to the purported decision of the governor approving with immediate effect the suspension of the 17 local government area structures to pave the way for the investigation being carried out by the Government.

Na’antuam said that governor did not cite any constitutional or statutory support, enabling him to suspend what they described as “17 local government area structures”.

The chairman said that actions contemplated by the state assembly was a mere resolution and advisory to the governor.

“In any case, such advice will not override existing legislations establishing the local government councils, as enshrined in the constitution, which is domesticated by relevant laws on the same subject matter in Plateau state.

“We have gone through the Plateau Local Government Council Law and we have found out that there is no part or whole of the law donating such powers to the House of Assembly.

“The Plateau State House of Assembly is the maker of the Plateau State Local Government Council law and to act in contempt and in utter disregard of the laws made by them is to devalue their functions,” he added.

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According to him, the resolution of the house upon which the governor allegedly acted “is said to be rooted in a petition by an unknown and unascertainable person alleging undisclosed financial improprieties or malfeasance against the 17 chairmen and councillors”.

He stressed that the purported petition was not served on any of them.

“We have abiding faith in the judiciary to invoke its disciplinary powers to overturn this unconstitutional behaviour.

“In the eyes of the law, we remain chairmen and councillors, respectively, until the court determines otherwise.

The local government is not a mere parastatal of the state and Section 7 (1) of the 1999 Constitution guarantees the autonomy of local government councils,” he said.(NAN)

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