Home Politics Atiku, Obi’s position on FCT pedestrian –APC

Atiku, Obi’s position on FCT pedestrian –APC

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said the contention by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) that President Bola Tinubu ought not to have been declared winner of the February 25 election on account  not polling at least 25 per cent of valid votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Abuja, is pedestrian and preposterous.

The position of the ruling party is contained in its final written addresses filed in response to the petitions by Atiku and Obi before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), dated July 14, 2023.

Lead counsel to the APC legal team, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) argued that Abuja voters have no veto power to singularly hang the outcome of the presidential election that is otherwise conclusive, simply because a candidate did not secure at least one-quarter of the votes cast in the FCT.

Fagbemi argued that “Nigeria is a federation comprising 36 constituent units with a Federal Capital Territory carved out of the territory of the federation.
FCT is therefore not part of the constituent units; it is not a state, but it is inhabited by all Nigerians aggregating equal rights to vote outside the FCT.

“We humbly submit that the contention that the FCT should have over-bearing and discriminatory privilege over and above majority of the federating states is ahistorical.

It is the very antithesis of the principle behind requirement of spread, as it will serve the ungainly purpose of isolating FCT from other federating units as to make it mandatory for a presidential candidate to score 25 per cent of the votes cast therein before he could be declared winner of the election, no matter the level of acceptance in other parts of the country.

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“Finally, we submit that any interpretation of section 134 (4) of the constitution, which in effect, purports to confer a veto power on the FCT, Abuja over the presidential election outcome in the 36 states of the federation, under the guises of its being a microcosm of the federation, smacks of absurdity.”

On the alleged non-compliance with the Electoral Act, INEC regulations and manual for the conduct of the election, the ruling party argued that the allegations cannot be proved by invoking section 137 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
It contended that “none of the documents tendered by the petitioners remotely disclosed non-compliance with the Electoral Act as they pleaded in their separate petitions.

The petitioners ought to have brought out in open court, the various electoral forms and equipment which they alleged contain the acts of non-compliance for the court to see and make its deduction.”

On the allegations by Atiku and Obi that INEC failed to electronically transmit the election results, the APC in its response argued that “the petitioners woefully failed to prove that the 1st respondent failed to electronically transmit the polling unit results on the IReV portal, but also did not adduce any credible, cogent and reliable evidence to establish that all the results actually declared and announced in each of the disputed polling units in the election have been altered fraudulently during the collation of same with the hard copy result form.”

On the whole, the APC urged the PEPC to dismiss the petitions and uphold the declaration of Tinubu as winner of the February 25 presidential election.

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