- INEC has restated its position in a legal document about the much talked about 25% votes in the FCT
- The electoral commission said the stipulation of 25% votes in FCT does not apply if a candidate meets all other requirements
- INEC played down the importance of the 25% votes in FCT in a counter-suit filed before the presidential election petition tribunal
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FCT, Abuja - The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said a candidate is not required to secure 25% votes in the Federal Capital Territory to be declared winner of a presidential poll.
This was contained in a preliminary counter-suit filed by the electoral body before the tribunal on Tuesday, April 11.
As contained in the suit, INEC confirmed that the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, met all the requirements that led to his declaration as winner of the keenly contested 2023 presidential polls, The Cable reported.
INEC reiterated that the FCT does not have a special status in terms of the election as largely perceived by electoral observers and analysts.
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The electoral body said:
“The second respondent, having scored 25 per cent of the valid votes cast in the 29 states, has satisfied the requirement of the constitution to be declared winner of the presidential election, thus rendering the requirement of having 25 per cent of the valid votes cast in the FCT unnecessary."
The electoral body revealed that Tinubu's declaration as president-elect was backed by the constitution's statutory provisions of Section 134 (2) (b).
As reported by The SUN, INEC said:
“The declaration and return of the second respondent were not wrongful and was made in accordance with the provisions of Section 134 (2) (b) of the Constitution, the second respondent having scored one quarter (25 per cent) of the valid votes cast in 29 states which are beyond the constitutional threshold for such declaration."
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The electoral body maintained that the former vice president did not garner 25% of votes in at least 25 states as required by the existing law.
INEC also argued that it was optional for a candidate to score 25% of votes at the FCT before they could emerge as the election winner.