Nullifying Presidential Election May Lead To Chaos – Tinubu To Tribunal
President Tinubu's legal team argues that FCT should be considered the 37th state for electoral purposes
President Bola Tinubu has requested the election tribunal to dismiss the petition aimed at nullifying his election as the President of Nigeria.
The petitioners, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) alleged that Tinubu failed to secure the required 25% of lawful votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
President Tinubu emerged as the winner of the presidential election held on February 28, defeating his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Tinubu the winner, as he obtained a total of 8,794,726 votes. Atiku Abubakar secured the second-highest number of votes with 6,984,520, while Peter Obi came third, garnering 6,101,533 votes.
In response to the petition challenging his victory, President Tinubu’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun, submitted a final written address to the tribunal.
Olanipekun argued that the interpretation of the FCT’s voting requirement would lead to “absurdity, chaos, anarchy, and alteration of the very intention of the legislature.” He further stated that the FCT should be considered the 37th state for electoral purposes, as specified in section 3(1) of the constitution.
Olanipekun emphasized that the petition was unprecedented and unfamiliar with the country’s electoral laws. He noted that the petition did not focus on typical electoral issues such as rigging, ballot box tampering, violence, or voter intimidation. Rather, it centered on the alleged failure to secure 25% of votes in the FCT.
He said, “The petition in issue in this address is very novel in the sense that it is not a petition stricto senso, familiar to our electoral jurisprudence, as the petitioners are not, this time around, complaining about election rigging, ballot box snatching, ballot box stuffing, violence, thuggery, vote buying, voters’ intimidation, disenfranchisement, interference by the military or the police, and such other electoral vices.”
Tinubu’s counsel also said section 3(1) of the constitution specifically lists the states by their respective names and that the FCT is classified “in the same manner and to the same extent”, hence 25% of votes in the FCT is not required by law.
“May we draw the attention of the court to the fact that there is no punctuation (comma) in the entire section 134(2)(b) of the constitution, particularly, immediately after the ‘States’ and the succeeding ‘and’ connecting the Federal Capital Territory with the States.
“In essence, the reading of the subsection has to be conjunctive and not disjunctive, as the Constitution clearly makes it so. Pressed further, by this constitutional imperative, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, is taken ‘as if’ it is the 37th State, under and by virtue of section 299 of the Constitution.”