The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has told the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) that Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the 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, the first petitioner, and PDP, the second petitioner, in the petition marked CA/PEPC/05/2023, had listed INEC, Tinubu, and APC as the 1st and 3rd respondents, respectively.
The petitioners are asking for the nullification of Tinubu's victory in the February 25 presidential 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 in second with 6,984,520 votes in the poll, while the Labour Party’s Peter Obi came in third after scoring 6,101,533 votes.
However, the petitioners are seeking the tribunal to set aside Tinubu’s victory and 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 of the votes in the nation’s capital, Abuja, to be declared the winner because the FCT wasn’t accorded any special status in the constitution, as was 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 the 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.