The President-elect, Bola Tinubu, and the Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima, have urged the Presidential Election Petition Court to reject Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party’s application for a live broadcast of proceedings.
They said the applicants’ requests are not such that the court could grant them.
“With much respect to the petitioners, the motion is an abuse of the processes of this honourable court,” the respondents stated.
They said the application is frivolous, adding that the court is not a soapbox, stadium or theatre where the public should be entertained.
Through their lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, they wondered why a petitioner would file an application to distract the court and waste its precious time.
According to the duo, the application relates to policy formulation of the court, which is outside the PEPC’s jurisdiction as constituted.
“The application also touches on the powers and jurisdiction invested in the President of the Court of Appeal by the Constitution, over which this honourable court as presently constituted cannot entertain.
“The application is aimed at dissipating the precious judicial time of this honourable court.
“The said application does not have any bearing with the petition filed by the petitioners before this honourable court.
“It is in the interest of justice for this honourable court to dismiss the said application filed by the petitioners,” they said.
Tinubu and Shettima said the applicants’ reference to the fact that virtual proceedings were allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic was not tenable, adding that Atiku and his party failed to draw the court’s attention to the fact that practice directions were made by the respective courts for the exercise.
“Another angle to this very curious application is the invitation it extends to the court to make an order that it cannot supervise.
“The position of the law remains, and we do submit that the court, like nature, does not make an order in vain, or an order which is incapable of enforcement,” the respondents stated.
More so, they stated that “At the very best, this application is academic, very otiose, very unnecessary, very time-wasting, most unusual and most unexpected, particularly, from a set of petitioners, who should be praying for the expeditious trial of their petition.
“Petitioners have brought their application under Section 36(3) of the Constitution which provides that the proceedings of a court/tribunal shall be held in public.
“The word ‘public’ as applied under Section 36(3) of the Constitution has been defined in a plethora of judicial authorities to mean a place where members of the public have unhindered access, and the court itself, sitting behind open doors, not in the camera.
“Even in situations where a class action is presented, the particular people constituting the class being represented by the plaintiffs or petitioners are always defined in the originating process.
“Here, in this application, the public at whose behest this application has been presented is not defined, not known, not discernable.
“Beyond all these, it is our submission that the court of law must and should always remain what it is, what it should be and what it is expected to be: a serene, disciplined, hallowed, tranquil, honourable and decorous institution and place.
“It is not a rostrum or a soapbox. It is not also a stadium or theatre. It is not an arena for ‘public’ entertainment.
“With much respect to the petitioners, the motion is an abuse of the processes of this honourable court.”