The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has told the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) that Bola Tinubu, the Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), won the February 25 election and was validly returned as the winner.
INEC disclosed this in a reply by its lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, on Tuesday, to the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, before the tribunal.
NAN reports that Atiku, 1st petitioner, and PDP, 2nd petitioner, in the petition marked: CA/PEPC/05/2023, had listed INEC, Tinubu and APC as 1st to 3rd respondents, respectively.
The petitioners are asking for the nullification of the Presidential election victory of Tinubu in the February 25 election.
Tinubu, who defeated seventeen other candidates who took part in the election, polled 8,794,726 votes, the highest of all the candidates.
Atiku of the PDP came second with 6,984,520 votes in the poll, while Labour Party’s Peter Obi came third after scoring 6,101,533 votes.
However, the petitioners are seeking the tribunal to set aside Tinubu’s victory and to declare Atiku the winner of the election.
Responding, INEC said Tinubu met all the legal requirements to be announced as the winner of the election.
INEC argued that a candidate must not secure 25 percent votes in the nation’s capital, Abuja, to be declared winner, because the FCT wasn’t accorded any special status in the constitution as being erroneously portrayed by some candidates and political parties who lost the Presidential election.
On why it returned Tinubu as the winner of the Presidential election, INEC said the APC candidate got 25 percent of the valid votes cast in 29 States across Nigeria.
“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 said.
INEC, therefore, appealed to the court to dismiss the petition.