Nigerians are eager to know who will take over from President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, three days after the conduct of the 2023 presidential election on Saturday, February 25.
Legit.ng reports that the results being declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have revealed that the three major candidates - Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) are in a tight race.
However, Nigerians are faced with the fear that the 2023 presidential election may face a constitutional crisis, despite that the APC candidate, Bola Tinubu is taking a lead as the results are being declared by the election umpire.
Tinubu may also end up with the highest number of valid votes and meet the threshold of scoring at least 25% of valid votes in at least 24 states of the federation.
But with the announcement of the results in the FCT, Tinubu had just 19.8% and PDP 16.1%, compared to Labour Party’s 61%.
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What does the constitution say exactly?
Section 134 (2) says:
“A candidate for an election to the office of President shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, there being more than two candidates for the election: (a) he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and (b) he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“(3) In a default of a candidate duly elected in accordance with subsection (2) of this section there shall be a second election in accordance with subsection (4) of this section at which the only candidates shall be (a) the candidate who scored the highest number of votes at any election held in accordance with the said subsection (2) of this section; and (b) one among the remaining candidates who has a majority of votes in the highest number of States, so however that where there is more than one candidate with the majority of votes in the highest number of States, the candidate among them with the highest total of votes cast at the election shall be the second candidate for the election.”
On the issue of the possible runoff, as regards 25% in FCT, a Lagos-based Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana said:
“Today, the courts have ruled that pursuant to Section 299 of the constitution, that the FCT should be treated as a state. That is the law.
“You don’t have to win the FCT; if you meet the requirement; that is two-thirds of the majority of states in the country. You don’t have to win the FCT.”
Another lawyer, Festus Ogun says:
"A joint reading of Sections 134(2) & 299 of the 1999 Constitution leads me to the irresistible conclusion that APC’s failure to clinch 25% of the total vote cast in FCT will not affect the declaration of their candidate as President since they’ve scored 25% in 2/3 of the states."