Bola Tinubu, the newly elected president, and Kashim Shettima, the newly elected vice president, have just urged the Presidential Election Petition Court to reject Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) demand for a live broadcast of the proceedings.
The respondents’ legal team, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, spoke on their behalf and expressed their admiration for the petitioners while denouncing the motion as a misuse of the legal system.
They attacked the application, calling it frivolous, and emphasised that a court is a place for serious legal processes rather than a stage for public entertainment.
Tinubu questioned the motive behind filing an application that aims to distract the court and waste valuable time. In their counter affidavit, they argued that the application touches on matters of court policy formulation, which is beyond the jurisdiction of the current composition of the Presidential Election Petition Court.
The respondents further emphasised that the application involves rights and authority that belong solely to the President of the Court of Appeal, which the court is unable to examine at this time.
The respondents pleaded with the court to dismiss the application in the interest of justice, pointing out that it just serves to eat up valuable judicial time and has nothing to do with the original petition.
The respondents challenged the applicants’ assertion that virtual procedures were permitted during the COVID-19 pandemic in their written response. They emphasised that the practice directives given by the relevant courts to assist such processes were not acknowledged by Atiku and the PDP.
The respondents also criticised the application for requesting the court to issue an order that it cannot supervise, stating that the court does not make orders in vain or that cannot be enforced.
Moreover, the respondents found the application to be academic, unnecessary, time-wasting, and unexpected, especially considering that the petitioners should be seeking a speedy trial for their petition.
They asserted that referencing Section 36(3) of the Constitution, which ensures open hearings, refers to a venue where the court is convening in an open session rather than in camera or behind closed doors.
The respondents emphasised that the application in question fails to define or identify the public on whose behalf it is brought, drawing attention to the fact that class actions specify the individuals represented by the plaintiffs or petitioners in the original filing.
The respondents highlighted how crucial it was to preserve the court’s reputation as a solemn, orderly, and honourable institution.
They firmly rejected the notion that it should serve as a platform for public entertainment and reiterated their view that the motion constitutes an abuse of the court’s processes.