Nigeria tribunal rejects live viewing of election case

A tribunal in Nigeria has refused to allow live television broadcasts of an opposition challenge to Bola Tinubu’s victory in February’s fiercely contested presidential election.

Lawyers for defeated candidates Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi argued that was in the public interest for the hearings to be broadcast live.But five judges unanimously turned down their request,

“The mere sentimental claim that it [live broadcasts] will benefit the voters has no utilitarian value on the matters before the court,” Justice Haruna Tsammani, who handed down the ruling, is quoted by Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper as saying.

The ruling is a victory for Mr Tinubu and the Electoral Commission as they argued against proceedings being broadcast live.

Mr Abubakar and Mr Obi are trying to annul Mr Tinubu’s victory, alleging that the poll was marred by irregularities.

Mr Tinubu and the Electoral Commission say the result was credible, even if there were glitches in uploading results on the Commission’s website.

Mr Tinubu was declared the winner with 37 per cent of the vote, while Mr Abubakar polled 29 per cent and Mr Obi 25 per cent.

A BBC investigation has found evidence suggesting some results from Nigeria’s presidential election may have been manipulated.The winner Bola Tinubu is due to be inaugurated on May 29but the opposition is challenging this.

The BBC has uncovered significant anomalies in Rivers state, a key battleground, although not sufficient to change the overall national outcome of the election, which took place in February.

There are also questions over the identity of an election official who read out some of the unexplained results.

On February25, Nigerians cast their votes at thousands of polling stations across the country.

At each polling station, the votes for the party of each candidate were publicly announced and the results sheets taken for collation first at the ward level, then at local government (LGA) centres.

An election official from each LGA then travelled to the state capital, where these results were officially declared.

For the first time in a Nigerian election, photographs of the polling station results sheets were published online by the Electoral Commission. -BBC

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