The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, PEPT, that the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu met the constitutional requirement of scoring 25% in the FCT to be declared winner of the February 25 presidential election.
The candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi in paragraphs 80, 81 & 82, told the tribunal to nullify the emergence of Tinubu on the grounds that he wasn’t not duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.
“Our contention is that in an election to the position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the determination of the outcome will not only be based on the count of votes for each candidate but will also follow the guidelines set out in sections 133 and 124 of the 1999 Constitution.
“To be declared the winner, a candidate must have received the highest number of votes in the election, have obtained at least one-quarter of the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all states in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and not have been previously declared and returned as elected. We are specifically relying on the result announced by INEC for the FCT, Abuja.
In their, response, INEC said Tinubu met the constitutional requirements, including scoring 25% in the FCT.
“We admit p80 and 81 but wish to clarify that because there were more than two candidates contesting the election, a candidate can only be declared the winner if they receive the highest number of votes cast and have at least one-quarter of the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“We dispute the other claims made in p81 of the Petition and affirm that Tinubu not only received the highest number of lawful votes cast, but also had at least one-quarter of the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all states in the Federation and the FCT, Abuja. As such, Tinubu was rightfully declared and returned as elected.
“Regarding paragraph 82 of the Petition, we state that Tinubu, who satisfied the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner of the election, was duly declared as such, and therefore, a second election is not necessary in this instance.
Also, APC in their response, insisted that their candidate met the requirements to be declared winner but never said their candidate scored 25% in the FCT.
“In response to p80 of the petition, we state that the result of the election which returned Tinubu as the elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was ascertained and confirmed after counting of lawful votes of each of the candidates.
“We further state that the election and the return of Tinubu as the elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria followed the provisions of Section 133 and 134 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“We admit paragraph 81 of the petition only to the extent that the Presidential Election was contested by more than two (2) candidates and that a winner shall be declared only if he scores the highest number of votes cast at the election and has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the states in the Federation and the FCT, Abuja.
“We state that Tinubu scored majority of lawful votes cast at the Presidential election and satisfied the Constitutional requirement/threshold across the Federation and was duly declared and returned as the elected President of the FRN.”
Tinubu and Shettima in their response, denied the claim by Obi and challenged him to provide evidence that they did not score the majority of the lawful votes cast. On the issue of scoring 25% of the votes in the FCT, Tinubu and Shettima said it’s not mandatory.
“We deny the claims made in paragraphs 81 & 82 of the petition and challenge the petitioners to provide evidence to support their allegations.
“We argue that the petitioners’ interpretation of sections 133 and 134 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) is incorrect and contrary to the clear wording and intent of these provisions and the Constitution as a whole.
“We contend that section 133 of the Constitution is irrelevant in this case since, LP & Obi themselves have shown, there were more than two candidates at the election. Furthermore, the respondents state that Nigeria’s democratic process does not rely on an Electoral College jurisprudence, particularly with regards to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“The respondents also refute the petitioners’ claim that a candidate must obtain 25% of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to be validly elected as President of Nigeria.
Note that Tinubu scored 90,902 votes, which represent approximately 20% of the votes while Atiku Abubakar of the PDP scored 74,194 votes, which represents 16% of the votes.
The Labour Party Candidate, Peter Obi won in the FCT with 281,717 votes which represents 61% .
The PEPT is set to commence hearing on the 8th of May, 2023.