Whether 25% of Votes Cast in FCT, Abuja is a Mandatory Requirement for the Presidential Candidate to be a Winner.
By Ogu Ibrahim Ogelebe Kolu
Nigeria is a country that elected their leaders through a democratic s ystem of government called Election.
The words Democracy and Election means;
Democracy as a concept, was conceived on 19th November, 1863, by Abraham Lincoln, a former American President, during his Gettysburg Declaration, as government of the people, by the people and for the people.
In Ojukwu v Obasanjo 2004 12 N.W.L.R. Part 886 Page 169 at 227 per Edozie JSC, the Supreme Court defined ‘election’ as “….the process of choosing by popular votes, a candidate for political office in a democratic system of government”. Elections in Nigeria are governed principally by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Electoral Act 2020, INEC and parties Guidelines.
It’s vividly clear that the presidential election conducted on 25th day of February 2023 in Nigeria, as witness a greater participation of Nigerians. This is premised on the fact that Nigerians have been properly informed about the significance of political participation as well the detriments of political apathy.
It’s settled that the electorate (Voters) always have a presumption of their candidate’s emerging victorious in the election but its disheartening and factual that this hypothesis scarcely come true in most circumstances and the reverse is choes by those with high esteem of winning by all means but at the long run fail to emerge victorious.
It’s on this background that the writer of this article seek to appraise the Necessity and otherwise of 25% of votes cast in FCT, Abuja as a presidential requirement to win election in Nigeria.
There were numerous arguments by Noble people such as; Lawyers, legal Schorlars, Law students, political analyst etc as to the interpretation of Section 134(1)b of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended 2011, Some of them were of the view that 25% of the votes cast in FCT, Abuja is a Necessity clause to determine the victory of the presidential candidate in Nigeria while others kicked against it. Its a candid opinion of this writer that in relying on the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria and the plethora of decided cases in Nigeria, 25% of votes cast in FCT, Abuja is just an additional requirement but not mandatory, sine qua non, or a necessity clause.
For a clearer exposition of section 134(1)a&b, it provides as follows;
Section:134. (1) A candidate for an election to the office of President shall be deemed to have be been duly elected, where, there being only two candidates for the election:
(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.
The controversies that ensued is at exactly Section: 134(1)b particularly lines four (4)
“and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
EXPOSITORY OF THE WORD “AND”
And or, however, is not ambiguous at all. It has a definite, agreed-upon meaning: when used properly, the construct means “A or B or both.” In most areas of law, there simply is no compelling reason to avoid using and/or. The term is clear and concise. It derives criticism mainly from the inability of people to use it correctly. Pleadings, contracts, statutes, and patent claims all allow for a cogent use of and/or. Conversely, some legal areas — such as jury instructions, search warrants, and jury verdicts — do not typically allow a drafter to provide options, making and/or unsuitable.access>https://www.wcl.american.edu/impact/lawwire/and-or-and-the-proper-use-of-legal-language.
we are fully aware of the settled principle of interpretation that a provision of the Constitution or a statute should not be interpreted in isolation but rather in the context of the Constitution or statute as a whole. Therefore, in construing the provisions of a section of a statute, the whole of the statute must be read in order to determine the meaning and effect of the words being interpreted: See Buhari & Anor: v. Obasanjo & Ors. (2005) 13 NWLR (Pt. 941) 1 (219). But where the words of a statute are plain and unambiguous, no interpretation is required, the words must be given their natural and ordinary meaning.”
in Abley v Gale. 20 L. J. C. P (N. S) 233 . Lord Diplock observed in Duport Steel Ltd v Sirs QBD 1980 that:
Where the meaning of the statutory words is plain and unambiguous it is not then for the judges to invent fancied ambiguities as an excuse for failing to give effect to its plain meaning because they consider the consequences for doing so would be inexpedient, or even unjust or immoral.
In INAKOJU V. ADELEKE (2007) 4 NWLR (PT. 1025) 427; S.B.N LTD V. AJILO (1989) 1 NWLR (pt. 97) 305. It was held that;
A court is not to go on a voyage of discovery when words are clear in Statute.
In view of the above, it’s clear and visible to blinds and audible to the deafs that Section 134(1)a,b is just an additional and optional requirement, that means, it’s observance is neither compulsory not necessary but optional provided a candidate have satisfied 25% of 24 States as stated in Chapter 6, Part 1 , section 133 (B) of the constitution, the candidate meeting this requirement can be declared as winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) , in so far as the candidate also have majority of votes casted.
FCT, Abuja being a state as envisaged hereunder is just an optional requirement, within the arena of legal jurisprudence, FCT Abuja is regarded as a “State” vide Court of Appeal in Okoyode v. FCDA (2005) LPELR-41123(CA)/ (2005) 27 WRN 97 page 105 that:
“By virtue of Section 299 of the Constitution of the Federation, the Federal Capital Territory is in law a state. In other words the Federal Capital Territory should be treated as one of the states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
It means, augmenting FCT, Abuja with the 36 States of the federation makes 37 States. So, when determining the two-third of 37 states which is a major requirement of winning a Presidential election in Nigeria, the Federal Capital Territory will be counted alongside the 36 states in line with section 299 of the constitution and rules of statutory interpretation. Therefore, two – third of 37 states are 24 and of which the APC Presidential Candidate has satisfied and cross this threshold.
2/3 means two out of three equal parts of it.
2/3 of 37 States is mathematically represented as follows; 37÷3=12.3
12.3+12.3/ 12.3×2= 24.6
which means a candidate need only 24 state approximately to fulfilled the requirement of the law.
While 25% of each state is calculated thus; to easily get 25% of a state with the total number of 1000000 Accredited votes, what you need do is to devide 25 by the percentage i.e 100 then multiply it by the numbers of votes i.e 1000000 you will have 250,000 Votes.
It’s mathematically represented as follows; 25÷100×1000000=250,000 votes.
which means the aspirant need only 250,000 votes from a state with the total numbers of 1000000 accredited votes.
DOES THE CANDIDATE OF ALL PROGRESSIVE CONGRESS APC, AHMMED BOLA TINUBU SATISFIED THE REQUIREMENTS?
The writer of this article answered in positive.
The Results was collated and declared by INEC on the 1st day of March, 2023, showed that Tinubu, the candidate of the APC, have secured the highest number of votes cast at the presidential election. He secured a total of 8,794,726, to have defeated his closest rivals, Waziri Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who got a total of 6,984,520; with Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), who scored the total numbers of 6,101,533 votes.
Consequently, The most significant point for a Presidential candidate to be declare victorious among other candidates in Nigeria, is the satification of 25 percent of votes cast in any 24 states and having the highest of the lawful votes casted throughout the federation.
In view of the above expositions, it’s clear that the candidate of the ruling party, (APC) Ahmed Bola Tinubu having satisfied the requirements of law, and constitutional qualify as well fit to be a winner as declared by INEC.
Having perused through various constitutional provisions, case laws etc, it’s my candid opinion that, the presidential candidate of the ruling party, (APC) Ahmed Bola Tinubu having satisfied the requirements of section 134(1)a,b of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended 2011, is constitutional entitled to be the winner as declared by the INEC.
Therefore, issue of 25% of the votes cast in FCT, Abuja as an index of being declare a winner as it has been wrongly misinterpreted by various people should be toss, discard as well cast aside Provided the candidate secured the highest numbers of votes casted and further secured 25% of 24 States in Nigeria including FCT, Abuja.
Conclusively, Nigeria is a country with one destiny and hope, therefore I humbly beseech the entire Nigerians and the other candidates who felt agrieved by any means whatsoever to exercise patience and surrender any form of grudges thereby work in harmonious relationship with the Winner as declared by INEC so as to move Nigeria to the highest pedestral of sucess.
ABOUT THE WRITER;
OGU IBRAHIM OGELEBE KOLU
A 300LEVEL LAW STUDENT, ABU ZARIA
12TH DAY OF MARCH, 2023.
OGU IBRAHIM OGELEBE KOLU
A 300LEVEL LAW STUDENT, ABU ZARIA
12TH DAY OF MARCH, 2023.
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