He Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) He has called for live streaming of court hearings on electoral petitions across the country, particularly presidential election cases.
The NBA made this call in a statement issued at the end of its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State, on March 23. The statement jointly signed by NBA president Yakubu Maikyau and his general secretary Adesina Adegbite was made public on Thursday.
He said that with Nigerians’ confidence in the judiciary at an all time low, live streaming of election petition hearings would help restore lost public trust.
“In view of the fact that public perception of the judiciary plays a key role in public acceptance of its decisions, and in helping to increase public confidence in the judiciary, which is currently at an all time low, NEC , following the President’s proposal, unanimously approves the resolution that calls for the live transmission of the proceedings of the electoral petition courts and tribunals, in particular for the presidential election, by the voluntary media,” reads in part of the statement.
Losing candidates in court
With the general election now over and the results declared in most of them, many losing candidates across party lines and election levels have filed petitions to challenge the results. While the presidential and National Assembly elections were held on February 25, the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections were held on March 18.
First among the first batch of aggrieved contenders to approach the court were Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidates Atiku Abubakar and Labor Party Peter Obi.
Both are upset with the outcome of the February 25 presidential election that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Bola Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) won.
The petitioners alleged that the election was marred by widespread irregularities, including the delay in uploading the results of voting units with the Bimodal Verification and Accreditation System (BVAS) to the INEC server.
But both have asked the Presidential Election Appeal Court in Abuja to declare them the winners of the election, or to cancel it altogether to pave the way for a new vote.
Many candidates who lost their elections to the National Assembly, the governorship and the state House of Assembly, have similarly rejected the results declared by the INEC.
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Reportedly, many election petition courts in different states have received the petitions of the losing candidates and their parties.
With Nigeria moving from the voting phase to the electoral petition phase, many Nigerians have expressed their lack of confidence in the nation’s judiciary.
A former NBA president, Olisa Agbakoba, condemned some recent Supreme Court decisions that he said made the law unpredictable and eroded public trust.
It is likely that many of the gubernatorial and presidential election petitions filed so far will not be finalized until the final ruling of the Supreme Court.
More Reasons Why Live Streaming Should Be Embraced
The NBA said that the live broadcasts of the proceedings of the courts and election petition tribunals “will give citizens the opportunity to follow the proceedings, have a better knowledge of the facts and an understanding of the reasoning behind the decisions of the courts.” in those matters.”
He said in his statement that he would help citizens to know “particularly how the Electoral Law and other applicable laws regarding electoral petitions are applied.”
There are hardly any live broadcasts of court sessions in Nigeria, due to the conservative nature of the country’s judiciary.
NBA condemns electoral violence in Lagos
The NBA condemned incidents of violence and “voter intimidation” during the recent elections in Lagos.
It demanded “the arrest and prosecution of identified election violators.”
Meanwhile, the release revealed that NBA NEC approved a proposal “for the introduction of a new NBA Stamp with enhanced security features and QR code car decals for attorneys.”
The proposal presented by NBA general secretary Adesina Adegbite will “stop quackery within the profession,” the statement said.
The association also said it waived annual General Conference fees for senior attorneys age 70 and older, in compliance with its wellness policy.
DOWNLOAD THE COMPLETE STATEMENT OF THE NBA HERE