Onaiyekan backs live broadcast of tribunal proceedings

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The Catholic Bishop Emeritus of Abuja Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, on Sunday,  joined in the call for live broadcast of proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja where the victory of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, is being challenged.

Onaiyekan, while speaking with journalists after Sunday mass to mark the end of this year’s 57th World Communication Week, said the proceedings of the PEPC should be broadcast live because a court is not “like a secret meeting.”

The PEPC had fixed Monday (today) to rule on the application seeking live broadcast of the proceedings filed by the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi.

The Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have a similar application before the court.

Onaiyekan called the judges at the PEPC to dispense judgment fairly and allow court proceedings to be transparent so that Nigerians can have hope in the Judiciary.

He said, “As journalists, you do your job, cover everything, but try and listen to everybody and relay to the public what is happening because they want to see.

“Isn’t it why it is important the petition before the tribunal, the possibility that the tribunal should be available to all of us to be able follow what is happening?

“For me, this is very important; one thing that Nigerians don’t seem to realise is that when elections are rigged, it is not the contestants or the politicians who are worst hit. Those who are the most impacted is me and you, but as it stands, we don’t even have locus standi in court. We are the ones who should be complaining in court that my votes have been bastardised, but they tell me I cannot go in the court because I did not contest the election.

“If we cannot go and make our case, at least let us see what is happening inside there. We believe that our honourable judges will do their best to make judgments that are correct, they will do what is right. Everybody will see it and it will help to calm nerves, we will know that the right thing has been done, but if they do all these somehow like a secret meeting, even if they did the right thing, we will say who knows what they said.

“So, it is in the interest of the judiciary to allow this thing to be done. All these issues that there are witnesses, whose witness are not meant to be made public, for goodness sake, what are they hiding? If you have anything that people shouldn’t know, you shouldn’t be saying it.

“I am praying that the honourable Justices will find a way even though they have not been doing it before. But they should be ready to do it now. It has reached a stage in Nigeria that we have to be doing things we have not been doing before, because if we have been doing things the way we have been doing it before, then it means we want things to continue the way it has been happening, and we see it has not been helping us, we must boldly take new steps and accept new things.”



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