Election Tribunal: Tinubu warns against dangers removing him as President
Following the extant presidential election tribunals, President Bola Tinubu has sent a stern warning on the impending dangers as would be suffered by the country should the February 25 presidential election that declared him as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria be nullified.
It is no longer news that Mr. President could not secure 25% of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as is stipulated in the constitution, yet was declared winner of the election and as such, President of the country.
could result in absurdity, chaos, anarchy, and the distortion of the legislature’s original intent.
President Tinubu stated his facts in a final written address to the Presidential Election Petition Court (PREPEC), in swift response to to two petitions filed by candidates from the Labour Party (LP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), wherein he challenged the validity of his victory.
According to his claims, the petition raised novel issues, hence contradicts the country’s electoral laws.
Meanwhile, Tinubu admitted his failure to score 25 percent of votes cast in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital but said it was insufficient to overturn his victory as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
“Any other interpretation different from this will lead to absurdity, chaos, anarchy, and alteration of the very intention of the legislature,” Tinubu’s lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun said in their final defence statement to the court.
The lawyers to the President were specifically addressing a section of the Nigerian Constitution that said a presidential candidate must score 25 percent of votes in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, or Abuja.
President Tinubu’s team said courts have always been careful about giving extreme interpretation of the Constitution that could spark chaos.
“Our courts have always adopted the purposeful approach to the interpretation of our Constitution, as exemplified in a host of decisions,” the team said.
They also said Mr Tinubu would still have won the election even if he didn’t score anything in Abuja and one other state, although this was not the argument of petitions, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party and Peter Obi of Labour Party.
“Even if there was no election in one State (including the FCT), or even if the election of a State/States (including the FCT) is/are voided, the entire election cannot be voided or canceled.
“In concluding our arguments on this issue, we urge the court to hold that any election where the electorate exercise their plebiscite, there is neither a ‘royal’ ballot nor ‘royal’ voter; and that residents of the FCT do not have any special voting right over residents of any other State of the federation, in a manner similar to the concepts of preferential shareholding in Company Law.
“We urge this court to resolve this issue against the petitioners and in favour of the respondent,” the lawyers said.