The Independent National Electoral Commission has asked the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja to dismiss all the petitions challenging the declaration of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
INEC had declared that Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes to win the election.
The commission declared that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, came second with 6,984,520 votes, while it announced Labour Party’s Peter Obi as the second runner-up with 6,101,533 votes.
But Atiku, Obi and some other parties rejected the results announced by INEC and heeded for the tribunal with prayers that the election should be nullified.
All the opposition parties challenging Tinubu’s victory joined INEC as a co-defendant.
In its defence to the various petitions, filed through its team of lawyers led by A. B. Mahmoud (SAN), INEC described Atiku’s petition as “grossly incompetent, vague and academic, saying it was an abuse of the court process.”
INEC affirmed that having scored at least one-quarter of the valid votes cast in 29 states, which is over and above the 24 states threshold required by the constitution in addition to scoring the highest number of the lawful votes cast at the election, Tinubu was properly declared winner and returned as the President-elect.
On the issue of Tinubu not winning the FCT, INEC argued that going by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, “the FCT has the status of a state and ought to be recognised as one of the states of the federation.”
INEC insisted that it declared Tinubu as winner of the election, considering that he “scored highest valid votes cast at the election and at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in not less than two-thirds of the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
A former Director of Voter Education and Publicity of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi has said electronic collation of results for the 2023 general elections was not compulsory.
Osaze-Uzzi, who spoke on a monitored program said the prescribed mode of collating results is manual.
Making reference to Section 64 (4) of the Electoral Act, the former INEC spokesman said the section empowers the electoral commission to start collating the result upon verification and confirmation of the result.
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