The Presidential Election Petition Court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani has reserved ruling till Monday on the application by Peter Obi and the Labour Party for live-streaming of the proceedings of the court.
Justice Tsammani made the brief declaration after lawyers to parties adopted their various processes.
Some aggrieved political parties now numbering three are challenging the outcome of the February 25 elections where the Independent National Electoral Commission declared Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Party as the winner.
The respondents in the suit are INEC, Tinubu, the Vice-President-elect, Kashim Shettima and their party, APC.
Lawyer to Obi and the LP, Awa Kalu SAN urged the court to grant the application for live telecast of the electoral petition in the interest of the public while counsels for the respondents moved their various counter-affidavits and prayed the court to reject the application for lacking merit and constituting a distraction to the court.
After hearing their various submissions, the court adjourned till Saturday for the next pre-hearing session in the petition.
Meanwhile, there was a brief confusion in court as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who is not part of the Labour Party’s team of lawyers announced an appearance for the party on Friday.
The panel of Justices who denied him recognition criticised the senior advocate who did not mention his name for attempting to stir up confusion, adding that “He should know better” following his excuse that “He was given a brief to appear.”
When the matter was called and before the drama, the presidential candidate of the LP, Peter Obi announced his appearance for himself and on behalf of the Labour Party.
It could be recalled that factions of the Labour Party clashed in court on Wednesday following the attendance of the Lamidi-Apapa-led group at the proceeding.
In a related development, the court has reserved rulings in applications by INEC, Tinubu and the APC seeking the dismissal of the petition by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party.
While Atiku and the PDP are respondents in the petition also contesting the outcome of the presidential election, INEC, Tinubu and the APC are the respondents.
The trio are praying for the court to either dismiss the entire petition or some of its paragraphs and other accompanying processes filed by the petitioners for offending the provisions of the law.
After taking arguments from lawyers to parties, Justice Tsammani announced that the rulings have been reserved to be delivered on the day of judgment in the substantive suit.
Lawyer to the petitioners, Chris Uche SAN in counter-argument, urged the court to dismiss all the applications and proceed to hear his clients’ on merit.
The learned silk accused the electoral commission of fighting a proxy war on behalf of the president-elect, Bola Tinubu.
He said this when he countered the application moved by INEC’s counsel, Kemi Pinhero, SAN, during Friday’s proceedings at the PEP Court.
The electoral umpire through its counsel had moved a motion on notice praying the court to strike out some of the allegations made against Tinubu by Atiku in his petition.
INEC said the allegations which formed 32 paragraphs in Atiku’s petition should be discountenanced by the court for lack of jurisdiction among others.
But Uche SAN filed a counter affidavit in opposition to INEC’s request and asked the court to dismiss the electoral body’s application.
He argued in the counter affidavit that it was not the duty of INEC to defend Tinubu.
Specifically, Atiku’s lead counsel insisted that INEC ought to be neutral but somersaulted by turning itself into a busybody and meddlesome interloper in taking up the defence of Tinubu against the provisions of the law.
He said, “INEC is fighting a proxy war on behalf of Tinubu which a neutral body should not do.”
He, therefore, asked the Court to dismiss INEC’s motion for being a gross abuse of court process, lacking in merit and grossly incompetent.
The court has adjourned further pre-hearing sessions in the petition till Saturday for parties to agree on the schedule to be adopted for the hearing of the petition.