THE Presidential Election Tribunal has barred counsel and parties from discussing publicly or with the media after each sitting as the panel commenced sitting Wednesday.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his party (PDP) had approached the five-man panel, challenging the result of 2019 Presidential election.
At the resumed sitting Wednesday morning, the courtroom of the Appeal Court, Abuja Division, was filled to its capacity as both PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) paraded their defence teams.
There were counsels to other political parties that are joined in the matter. The chairman of the panel and President, Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, however, cautioned against public discussion of the matter as it progresses.
“We are witness to what has been happening in high profile cases where such cases are being discussed and publicly decided prematurely in both the social and electronic media before the announcement of the verdict by the court.
“We pray that this time would be an exception for the benefit of the nation. We don’t expect counsel to any of the parties to hype the polity after any sitting by making a public analysis in the media as to what transpired in court”, she said.
Justice Bulkachuwa further warned that the proceedings should be treated as a low-profile case, where proceedings in court are not discussed publicly until a decision is pronounced by the court.
“This admonition is also extended to the parties, their respective counsel and the members of the press.
“We on our own part will make relevant information available as and when due.”
The panel chair stated that “any breach will not be condoned, and we will not hesitate in taking necessary action against such offenders.”
Other members of the panel include Justices Abdul Aboki, Joseph Ikyegh, Samuel Oseji and Peter Olabisi Ige.
As the inaugural ceremony came to conclusion, the stage has been set for the legal tussle for the country’s Presidential seat.