Failure to reach the 25% threshold in FCT would bring chaos: President Bola Tinubu has responded to the two petitions filed by candidates Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the nullification of his victory in the February 25 presidential election. Tinubu argued that nullifying the election due to his failure to score 25% of the lawful votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would lead to chaos and alter the legislative intent.
Tinubu’s final written address was submitted to the Presidential Election Petition Court (PREPEC) during the Annual International Conference of ESUT School of Postgraduate Studies. He emphasized that the petitions were novel and not in line with the country’s electoral laws. The panel, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, had given the respondents 10 days to file their written addresses.
The petitions filed by Atiku, Obi, and their respective parties alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not comply with election guidelines and regulations, calling for the nullification of Tinubu’s election. INEC had declared Tinubu the winner with 8,794,726 votes, while Atiku and Obi were said to have received 6,984,520 and 6,101,533 votes, respectively. The petitioners also questioned Tinubu’s qualification, claiming that he did not meet the 25% threshold in the FCT and citing an alleged United States District Court judgment on his alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
During the proceedings, Atiku called 27 witnesses and Obi called 13 witnesses, presenting numerous documents. However, Tinubu, Shettima, and the APC argued in their final address that the grounds of the petitions were unfamiliar with the country’s electoral laws. They contended that the petitions did not address traditional electoral vices but instead focused on alleged non-uploading of results to the INEC Election Result Viewing (IREV) Portal.
The final judgment will consider whether INEC breached Section 134 of the Constitution by announcing Tinubu as the winner despite not scoring 25% of the votes in the FCT. Section 134(2)(b) of the Constitution outlines the criteria for a candidate’s election to the office of President.