from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – POLITICAL parties have called for the live broadcast of tribunal proceedings on the disputed presidential poll in Nigeria.
Proceedings, which began this week, are ongoing at the Supreme Court in the capital, Abuja, after opposition candidates rejected the announcement of Bola Tinubu as the winner of the polls held in February.
They allege irregularities and rigging by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), the umbrella body of all registered political parties and political associations in the west African nation, has thrown its weight behind calls for live broadcast of the sittings.
Willy Ezugwu, CNPP Secretary General, said the live broadcast would douse tension associated with the proceedings and promote transparency in the court process, in the public interest.
He believes “there is no way” INEC, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate Tinubu would oppose a live broadcast of the tribunal’s sittings.
The Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, have aligned with the request by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for live broadcast of the proceedings of the petition court.
“It will be difficult to see INEC or the APC and Tinubu stand up to oppose the application for live broadcast of presidential election petition court’s proceedings if INEC believes it did the right thing and the APC won fair and square,” Ezugwu said.
He believes objecting to the application would not be in the interest of any of the parties to the petitions and their supporters as a live broadcast is the best way to erase any possible misconception about the outcome and minimise dissemination of false information, especially on social media.
“Therefore, the tribunal granting the popular request will enable Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, who are interested in the outcome of the presidential election petitions, to follow the proceedings live and be better informed instead of relying on hearsay.”
CNPP believes the live broadcast has also become imperative because of the limited space in the court room to accommodate thousands of Nigerians who would have been present in court to witness the proceedings first-hand.
Tinubu was announced the winner with 36,61 percent of the vote, ahead of Abubakar (29,07 percent) and Obi (25,4 percent). Some 93,469 million Nigerians registered to vote but 26,71 percent participated.
The swearing in is scheduled for May 29, when President Muhammadu Buhari’s term ends.
– CAJ News