Cardinal Onaiyekan

Call for Transparency: Onaiyekan Urges Judiciary to Allow Live Broadcast of Presidential Election Tribunal’s Proceedings

Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the retired archbishop of the Archdiocese of Abuja, has requested that the government’s judiciary allow a live broadcast of the Presidential Election Petition Court’s (PEPC) hearings so that Nigerians can follow the case and be informed of what is going on.

Onaiyekan stated that Nigerians wanted to see what is happening with the cases before the Tribunal so they would know what to expect.

He made the call on Sunday while speaking with journalists at the World Communications Day celebration, with the theme: “Speaking the Truth with Love from Your Heart,” at St. Gabriel Chapel in Abuja.

“Nigerians wanted to know what was going on,” he said, so it was crucial that the petitions before the Tribunal be made public so that all Nigerians could keep up with what was going on. He also advised journalists to listen to all sides and report what was happening to the public.

“For me, this is very important. One thing that I think Nigerians do not seem to realize 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 bastardized, 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 honorable 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 said.

According to the Cardinal, “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 honorable 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.”

Onaiyekan further said that all eyes were on the court, that Nigerians did their best to vote, and they were told to go to Court.

“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 added.