No fewer than 8000 Nigerians have signed a petition demanding for live coverage of the proceedings of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The petition by a citizen, Jane Peter and addressed to Hon Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, National Judicial Council and one other, is titled: "Live Broadcast The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal-PEPT.”
The signatories to the petition meanwhile hit 8,000 on Saturday evening.
The petitioners in their reasons for the demand said that allowing the live coverage of the Tribunal's proceedings would ensure transparency and openness in the conduct of the tribunal.
The concerned citizen reminded the tribunal and the National Judicial Council that what they were asking had been implemented in other African countries citing Kenya, adding that their Supreme Court concluded hearing of an election petition case and gave judgement in two weeks.
"We believe that the judiciary in Nigeria can also save time and earn the trust of Nigerians by working to terminate the case and give its judgement before the inauguration date," it said.
The petition further reads: "We, the citizens of Nigeria, demand the live broadcast of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) proceedings. The PEPT proceedings are of significant national interest and importance, and every Nigerian has a right to know what is happening in this tribunal. The Chief Justice of Nigeria should advance our public interest and champion Live Broadcast of hearings.
"Nigerians have become so much less trusting of the Judiciary evidently because of strange rulings made by courts in some key election cases. So there is justified demand for the most accurate and current information from the #PresidentialElectionTribunal proceedings.
"It is our right as critical stakeholders in the democratic process to be fully informed and to ensure transparency in the conduct of the tribunal. As a democratic country, we believe in transparency, accountability, and justice.
"Therefore, we urge the PEPT to provide a live broadcast of the proceedings to ensure transparency and openness in the conduct of the tribunal. Transparent judicial proceedings have also been adopted in other African countries, such as Ghana and Zimbabwe, in deciding presidential election petitions in recent times.
"We call on the PEPT to urgently commence sitting without further delay to ensure accelerated hearing of the case and speedily conclude the case within time statutorily allotted before inauguration on May 29, 2023.
"We believe that live broadcasting of the PEPT proceedings will prevent any delay tactics that may be employed to frustrate the case and ensure that justice is served. We implore the Justices of the Appeal Court and Supreme Court to put Nigeria first before personal interest and to do the case differently for the first time.
"We are aware that in Kenya, the Supreme Court concluded hearing of an election petition case and gave judgement in two weeks. We believe that the judiciary in Nigeria can also save time and earn the trust of Nigerians by working to terminate the case and give its judgement before the inauguration date."
It added, "We implore you to put Nigeria first before personal interest and to avoid any delay tactics that may be employed to frustrate the case. We believe that live broadcasting of the PEPT proceedings will prevent any such delay tactics and ensure that justice is served.
"We, therefore, join the call of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and demand that the proceedings of the PEPT be transmitted live to enable every Nigerian to be aware of the progress or otherwise of the hearings. This will make us feel a sense of belonging as critical stakeholders in the democratic process of our beloved country.
"We urge the Judiciary to continue to promote transparency, accountability, and justice in our democratic system. Together, we can make Nigeria great again."