With barely 17 days to the scheduled swearing-in of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, five residents of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, have approached the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court for an order to halt the ceremony.
The plaintiffs, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/578/2023, applied for an order, restraining the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, any other judicial officer and/or any other authority or person from swearing in any candidate in the February 25 presidential election as President or Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, until it is judicially determined with finality or in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution that such candidate has fulfilled the requirement of Section 134(2) (b) of the Constitution.
They further want a declaration that, “the plaintiffs and other FCT residents have a legal interest and constitutional rights to be heard on the question of whether a President-elect must secure at least 25% of votes cast, on the first ballot, in the FCT, Abuja.”
“A declaration that no state of the country is at the same time the FCT for any propose whatsoever, including, in particular, under section 134 (2) (b) of the Constitution.
“A declaration that no candidate in the February 25 presidential election in the country may validly be declared elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without that candidate obtaining at least 25% of the votes cast in the FCT, Abuja.
“A declaration that no candidate in the February 25 presidential election may validly be sworn in as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, without such candidate having obtained 25% of the votes case in FCT, Abuja.
“A declaration that following the February 25 presidential election and until a successor is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and sworn in, the term of office of his Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCON, as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria subsists and endures in accordance with the provisions of section 135 (1) (a) of the Constitution”.
As well as, “An order setting aside or suspending any declaration and/or issuance of a Certificate of a Return to any candidate in the February 25 presidential election in the country as having been elected, save and except it is judicially determined with finality that such candidate fulfilled the conditions stated in section 134(2) (b) of the Constitution.
The five plaintiffs behind the suit, who identified themselves as “registered voters of the FCT, Abuja, excepting those exempting themselves”, are; Anyaegbunam Okoye, David Adzer, Jeffery Ucheh, Osang Paul and Chibuike Nwachukwu.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and the CJN were cited in the matter as 1st and 2nd defendants, respectively.
In the suit dated April 28, which they filed through their lawyer, Mr Chucks Nwachukwu, the plaintiffs prayed the court to among other things, determine; “Whether any candidate in the February 25, 2023 presidential election in the country may validly be declared elected and sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and therefore the authority to administer or oversee the administration of the Federal Capital Territory through the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and the Federal Capital Territory Development Authority, without that candidate obtaining at least 25% of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.”
Likewise, “Whether the court may restrain the swearing in of any person on May 29th 2023 or at any other date until the issues raised in the summons have been determined with finality”.
It will be recalled that one of the grounds both the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who came second in the presidential election and his counterpart in the Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi, who came third, is relying on to challenge the declaration of Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, included the fact that he failed to secure 25% votes in the FCT, Abuja.
However, in a reply he filed before the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja, Tinubu, argued that it was not a mandatory requirement of the law that he must win the FCT before he could be declared as the President-elect.
He said Atiku’s call for his election to be nullified on the ground that he was mandatorily required to score one-quarter of the lawful votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the States and the FCT, “becomes suspect and abusive when considered vis-à-vis relief 150(d), where the petitioners pray that the 1st petitioner who did not score one-quarter of the votes cast in more than 21 States and the FCT, Abuja, be declared the winner of the election and sworn in as the duly elected President of Nigeria”.
Source : Vanguard News