The 2023 presidential election is gone but the aftermath still remains and in no distant time the court will be filled with election matters. There has been speculations in the country on the APC presidential candidate and presidential candidate who people acclaimed that they did not win 25 percent vote in 24 states and in Abuja pursuant to sections 133, 134 and 179 of the Constitution. This article will discuss the concept of winning 25percent in the 24 states and in Abuja in accordance with the law.
Position of the Law
The Electoral Act, 2022 states that “…the result (in an election to the office of the President or Governor) shall be ascertained by counting the votes cast for each candidate and the candidate that receives the highest number of votes shall be declared elected by the appropriate returning officer.”
Section 134, subsection 2, of the 199 Constitution states:
“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-he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
This therefore interprets that, the constitutional requirements for 25 percent of votes in two-thirds state and the FCT only means that the FCT be added to the 36 states to arrive at 37 states.
However Section 299 of the Constitution states that the FCT shall be treated like a state, In other words the Federal Capital Territory should be treated as one of the states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. One does not just choose when to consider Abuja as a state
Another issue to also be considered is the word “AND” as used in Section 134, subsection 2, of the 199 Constitution. The word “AND” to the lay man is mostly used simultaneously that is, it is used to join one or more thing together. However this can differ in legal terms.
Agbakoba the president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) between 2006 and 2008 expressed his dilemma that there could be multiple interpretations of section 134 of the 1999 Constitution, which prescribed the requirements to be met by a presidential candidate to become the president of Nigeria. He also further
requested the ‘correct’ interpretation of certain sections of the 1999 constitution (as amended) that determine who wins a presidential election.
In conclusion a declaration should be made by INEC as it is rightly done, then the aggrieved party can approach the court to seek legal redress.