Voters Suffer Pain Of Rigging; Allow Live Broadcast Of Proceedings – Onaiyekan Tells PEPC Judges

Voters Suffer Pain Of Rigging; Allow Live Broadcast Of Proceedings – Onaiyekan Tells PEPC Judges

Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the former Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Abuja, has urged the Judicial arm of the government to permit the live broadcast of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) proceedings. He emphasized the importance of enabling Nigerians to follow the case and stay informed about its progress.

Speaking at the World Communications Day celebration held at St. Gabriel Chapel in Abuja, Cardinal Onaiyekan expressed the desire of Nigerians to witness the ongoing tribunal cases and have a clear understanding of what to anticipate. He advised journalists to diligently listen to all sides and communicate the developments to the public. The Cardinal stressed that it was crucial for the petitions presented to the tribunal to be accessible to Nigerians, enabling them to stay informed and engaged.

Cardinal Onaiyekan underscored the significance of this matter, emphasizing that the consequences of election rigging primarily affect ordinary citizens who exercised their right to vote. He lamented the fact that these citizens, including himself and others, did not have the legal standing to challenge the irregularities in court. He believed that even if they were not eligible to present their cases, they should at least be able to observe the proceedings.

The Cardinal expressed confidence in the judiciary, hoping that the honorable judges would make fair and just judgments. He believed that public visibility of the court proceedings would help alleviate tensions and ensure transparency. Cardinal Onaiyekan urged the judiciary to embrace the live broadcast of the proceedings, suggesting that the current practice of closed-door hearings raises suspicions and erodes public trust.

He also questioned the need for concealing witness testimonies, stressing the importance of openness and accountability. Cardinal Onaiyekan believed that if there were aspects of the proceedings that needed to remain confidential, it would raise concerns about hidden agendas. He hoped that the justices, although not accustomed to live broadcasts, would recognize the need for a new approach to promote transparency and restore faith in the system.

Furthermore, the Cardinal acknowledged that all eyes were on the court, as Nigerians had put forth their best efforts to vote and were subsequently directed to seek redress through the legal process. He expressed confidence that the court would fulfill its role and complete the task that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had initiated. Cardinal Onaiyekan stressed the importance of communication in fostering unity, understanding, and trust, emphasizing the positive impact it could have on society.

“For me, this is very important. One thing that I think Nigerians do not seem to realise is that when elections are rigged, it is not the contestants or the politicians who are the most hit, those who have been most impacted and hit are me or you, we who went and voted. But as it stands, we do not even have locus standi in court.

“We are the ones who should be complaining there now, that my vote has been bastardised, destroyed. They tell me I cannot go to court because I did not contest the election. If we cannot go and make our case, at least we should be able to see what is happening inside there.

“We believe that our honourable judges will do their best to make judgments that are correct and true. If they do what is right, everybody will see it. And then it will help to calm nerves when we know that the right thing has been done. But if they do all these, somehow in some kind of secret Ogboni meeting, even if they did the right thing and they come out and tell us, we will still say who knows what they said,” Onaiyekan stated.

He also pointed out, “so it is in the interest of the judiciary to allow the live broadcast to be done.

“All these issues that there are witnesses whose witness shall not be made public. For goodness sake, what are they hiding? If you have anything that people do not know and should not know, then you should not do it.

“So I think and I am praying that the honourable Justices will find a way, even though they have not been doing it before, they should be ready to do it now.

“We will reach a stage in Nigeria where we must start doing things that we have not been doing before, because if I have been doing things the way we have been doing it before, then it means we want things to continue the way it has been happening. And we say it has not been helping us. So we must be prepared boldly to take new steps and accept new things.”

“We are now in court. All eyes are on the court. And we believe that is why we will have trust in the court that they will finish the job that INEC did halfway. The fact remains that communication is meant to build not to destroy, to unite, not to divide, to entertain, not to make people sad and this is what we are praying for today,” he further added