According to Femi Falana, a presidential contender does not have to win the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to be proclaimed the victor of the February 25, 2023 election.
“It is not a requirement that you must win the FCT,” the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday.
“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,” the rights activist stressed.
Olisa Agbakoba, a former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last week to clarify the commission’s position on Section 134 of the 1999 Constitution, which appears vague.
Section 134 of the constitution states that a candidate will be declared winner of a presidential election if he has “(a) he has the majority 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.
Agbakoba has asked if the FCT is included in the 24 states, but the election umpire has not responded.
Falana, on the other hand, stated that Section 299 of the Constitution already recognized the FCT as a state, and so a presidential candidate does not have to win the seat of Nigeria’s political authority to be proclaimed the winner of an election.
He emphasized that once a candidate receives 25% of the votes cast in 24 states and a majority of the total votes cast, the electoral body should declare him or her the winner.
“The concern that has arisen is that looking at the campaigns going on, people are wondering whether any candidate will win those stringent constitutional requirements: 25% and at least two-third of the state and of course majority of lawful votes all over the country,” Falana said.
Peter Obi of the Labour Party, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party are among the leading contenders for Aso Rock’s top post in next month’s election (NNPP).
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