The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has asked the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to dismiss a petition filed by the Labour Party, LP, and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Obi and the LP filed a petition challenging the victory of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the president-elect.
In the petition, marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 Livy Ozoukwu, lead counsel to LP and its presidential candidate, contended that Tinubu “was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election.”
They also claimed that Shettima had a double nomination in contravention of the electoral act.
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The petitioners asserted that the election was marred by rigging and manipulations adding that the INEC violated its own regulations when it announced the results when at the time of the announcement, the total polling unit results had yet to be fully scanned, uploaded, and transmitted electronically as required by the electoral act.
Atiku didn’t meet conditions to win presidential poll, INEC tells court
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar did not meet the constitutional requirements to be declared winner of the February 25 election.
The Commission urged the Presidential Election Petition Court to dismiss the petition by Atiku and his party.
It said Atiku failed to score, at least, one-quarter of the votes cast in at least two-thirds of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and as such could not have been declared the winner.
INEC added that the election was conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 and was not marred by any corrupt practices.
The commission, however, said the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu validly won the February 25 election.
Recall that Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat Atiku who scored 6,984,520 and Peter Obi of the Labour Party who got 6,101,533. Atiku and Tinubu won 12 states each while Obi won 11 states and the FCT.
Both Atiku and Obi are in court to challenge the declaration of Tinubu as winner by INEC but the electoral umpire told the court that the FCT is not accorded any special status in the constitution as being erroneously portrayed by some political parties and candidates who lost the election.
The commission said the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate met all the legal requirements to be so announced as the winner.
It argued that a candidate must not secure 25 per cent of votes in the FCT to be declared the winner.
INEC said the APC candidate scored 25 per cent of the valid votes cast in 29 states of the Federation.
It added that by the margin of the lead, it did not act hastily, as claimed by Atiku and the PDP in declaring Tinubu the winner.
The Commission noted that Tinubu scored 25 per cent of the valid votes cast in 29 states, namely: Ekiti, Kwara, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Yobe, Lagos, Gombe, Adamawa, Katsina, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Niger, Benue, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Kogi, Bauchi, Plateau, Bayelsa, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto, Taraba, Borno and Rivers.
It added that the FCT, beyond being the country’s capital “has no special constitutional 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.
The commission subsequently urged the Tribunal to dismiss Atiku’s petition.