At the pretrial stage of the presidential election petition, the petitioners applied for a live coverage of the trial given the heated controversy and division the presidential election had created. The petitioners reasoned that a live coverage would give the trial a stamp of transparency.
The trial judges, in their ruling, denied the application, reasoning that the court was neither a cinema theater, nor was it Nollywood, for any theatrics. They also claimed that they had no powers to grant the application given that the decision to allow live coverage of the court sessions was purely an administrative matter.
(NOTE: The court trying Donald Trump in the US has stated, without being prompted, that the trial would be televised live!)
However, when it came to giving judgement, the court chose to cover the session live, with a caveat – not to show the faces of the judges! And the judges turned the court into not only a theater, but Nollywood!
I need to state that I missed only two sessions of the whole trial – from pretrial, to trial, to adoption of final addresses – and sat through the whole judgement session. So I can speak about the happenings in the court.
If you have any sense of fairness, you would ask yourself this question: Why did the tribunal judges rule against the petitioners’ application for the live coverage of the trial which was an interaction between the judges, the counsels, and witnesses, but decided, without being asked, to give live coverage to the judgement session in which only the judges had the floor?
If it was for transparency and public good, which session was more deserving of live coverage?
The judges, in my opinion, used the live coverage of the judgement to beam a bad light on the petitioners’ counsels knowing they had no right of reply during the session. They spewed venom while hiding their faces from the cameras and abused both petitioners and their counsels.
From my conclusion, the live coverage of the judgement session was not for the public good. It was only to absolve the judges from any misdeeds and focus attention on the counsels who could not speak at the session.
Nigerians were only shown the last scene and since they didn’t watch the whole movie, they mistook the hero for the villain!
That was how fair the judges were.