INEC says president-elect didn’t need 25 per cent votes in Abuja to be declared winner

INEC says president-elect didn’t need 25 per cent votes in Abuja to be declared winner

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, did not need to receive 25 votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) before being declared Nigeria’s president-elect.

The APC presidential candidate was declared winner and president-elect by the electoral umpire after he received 8.8 million votes, beating Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi.

By receiving 25% of the valid votes cast in 29 states, Mr. Tinubu “has satisfied the requirement of the constitution to be declared winner of the presidential election, thus making the requirement of having 25% of the valid votes cast in Federal Capital Territory unnecessary,” the electoral umpire said in support of its declaration of Mr. Tinubu as the president-elect.

Citing section 134 (2) (b) of the constitution, the electoral commission noted that its declaration and return of Mr Tinubu “was not wrongful…having scored one-quarter of valid votes cast in 29 states which is beyond the constitutional threshold for declaration.”

INEC added that Nigeria’s constitution confers the status of a state on the FCT (Abuja) “and ought to be recognised as one of the states of the federation.”

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 per cent of the votes cast in the FCT before being declared winner of the presidential election,” INEC said.

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 one-quarter of the votes cast in two-thirds of the 36 states except in the FCT.”

While responding to the claim of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that the election was compromised and that the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System , BVAS, was manipulated in favour of the former Lagos State governor, the commission maintained that there “was no intimidation and harassment, massive thumb-printing of ballot papers, destruction of electoral materials,.. mutilations, cancellations and overwriting on result sheets, inflation, deflation of scores and wrong entries in result sheets as alleged by the petitioners” during the February presidential election.

Recall that in a joint petition with the PDP, Atiku Abubakar is contesting Mr. Tinubu’s victory on various grounds, including the fact that the APC chieftain did not receive the required 25% of the votes cast in two-thirds (24 states) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The election’s third-place finisher, Mr. Peter Obi of Labour Party, is also contesting Mr. Tinubu’s victory in court, arguing among other things that the president-elect did not receive up to 25% of the vote in Abuja.

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