INEC Urges Tribunal to Reject Atiku’s Petition Against Tinubu’s Election Victory

Presidential candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and winner of the 2023 Presidential election, Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu, who won the presidential election held on Saturday, February 25, is facing a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja.

However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has requested that the court dismiss the petition. INEC attorney, Abubakar Mahmoud, argued that Tinubu had fulfilled all the legal requirements to be declared the winner of the election.

The petitioners are requesting that the court sets aside Tinubu’s victory, directs INEC to revoke the APC candidate’s certificate of return, and declares Abubakar the winner of the election.

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INEC maintained that Tinubu met all legal requirements to be named the election’s winner and clarified that a candidate does not need to win 25% of the vote in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to be declared the winner.

Tinubu defeated 17 other candidates in the election, scoring a total of 8,794,726 votes, while Abubakar came in second with 6,984,520 votes, and Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party, came in third with 6,101,533 votes.

“Having scored at least one-quarter of the valid votes cast in 29 states, which is over and above the 2/3 states threshold required by the constitution, in addition to scoring the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election, the 2nd respondent was properly declared winner and returned as the president-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” INEC noted.

INEC has stated that Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), should be declared the winner of the election as he scored the highest number of valid votes cast, as well as at least 25% of the votes cast in not less than two-thirds of the states of the federation and the country’s capital.

The commission argued that the declaration and return of Tinubu was made in accordance with the provisions of Section 134 (2) (b) of the Constitution, having scored one-quarter (25%) of the valid votes cast in 29 states, which exceeds the constitutional threshold for such a declaration.

In response to Atiku Abubakar’s petition, INEC claimed that the PDP candidate could not have been declared the victor by the tribunal due to his failure to comply with the constitutional requirement.

“The petitioners neither scored the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election nor scored not less than one-quarter of the lawful votes cast in at least two-thirds of the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, and therefore the 1st petitioner (Atiku) is not entitled to be returned as the winner of the presidential election conducted on Feb. 25,” INEC noted.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that the 2022 general election was conducted in accordance with the Electoral Act and was not tainted by any form of malpractice.

INEC also reiterated its commitment to holding free, fair, and credible elections by utilizing the BVAS device for electronic voter accreditation and uploading scanned copies of polling unit election results to the IRev portal.

Consequently, the commission has urged the court to reject Atiku’s petition.