The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has justified its declaration of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, as presidentelect in the 2023 general election.
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According to the commission, Tinubu didnt need to score 25 votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to be declared Nigerias presidentelect.
Naija News reports that the position of the electoral umpire is against the back drop of the petitions filed by Tinubus counterparts in the Labour Party(LP), Peter Obi and Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Atiku Abubakar in the 2023 general election.
It would be recalled that in the aftermath of the presidential election, both Obi and Atiku had in separate suit to Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja claimed that Tinubu shouldnt have been declared presidentelect because he didnt secure 25 votes in the FCT.
While Atiku, who came second in the presidential race and secured 15.5 in the FCT requested the court to either declare him the winner of the election or nullify it and order a rerun, Obi who came third scored 58.85 and Tinubu had 18.99.
It was gathered that be declared the winner of Nigerias presidential election, a candidate must also score 25 of votes cast in twothird of the 36 states and the FCT.
But Tinubu didnt meet the requirement for the 25 in the FCT.
However, INEC in its defense in a preliminary objection to Atikus petition argued that there was no basis for the call for a runoff and/or nullification of the said election.
According to the commission, the declaration of Tinubu as the presidentelect, was based on him scoring 25 of the valid votes cast in 29 states,
INEC said Tinubu Has satisfied the requirement of the constitution to be declared winner of the presidential election thus rendering the requirement of having 25 of the valid votes cast in Federal Capital Territory unnecessary.
It was gathered from Premium Times that the commission cited section 134 (2) (b) of the constitution, saying its declaration and return of Tinubu was not wrongfulhaving scored onequarter of valid votes cast in 29 states which is beyond the constitutional threshold for declaration.
The commission also argued that Nigerias constitution confers the status of a state on the FCT (Abuja) and ought to be recognised as one of the states of the federation,. noting that the FCT beyond being the Capital of Nigeria has no special status over and above the other 36 states of the federation to require a candidate in the presidential election to obtain at least 25 of the votes cast in the FCT before being declared winner of the presidential election.
Inferring the intentions of the framers of the Nigerian constitution, INEC said a presidential candidate is expected to have a national geographical spread and broad acceptability from the Nigerian electorate and not meant to bestow a veto power on the FCT or its electorate over the election of a candidate at a presidential election who has otherwise scored onequarter of the votes cast in twothirds of the 36 states except in the FCT.
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