FCT Not Granted Special Status: Presidential Election Tribunal Rules on 25% Requirement
Abuja, September 6, 2023 – In a significant ruling today, the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal affirmed that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) does not enjoy any privileged status over other states in Nigeria when it comes to presidential elections. This decision was made during the tribunal’s session on Wednesday, with Justice Haruna Tsammani, the lead judge of the five-member panel, delivering the verdict.
The tribunal’s ruling emphasized the importance of Section 134 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended). According to these constitutional provisions, a presidential candidate must achieve two key criteria to be declared duly elected as President of Nigeria:
1. Attain or secure a majority of the votes cast in a presidential election when two or more candidates are vying for the position.
2. Obtain at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Justice Tsammani clarified that the 25% requirement applies uniformly to all states, including the FCT, and no preferential treatment should be granted. This ruling establishes a level playing field for all presidential candidates across the nation and underscores the principle of equality among states in Nigeria’s democratic process.
The tribunal’s decision has far-reaching implications for future presidential elections, ensuring that every state’s role is equally significant in determining the outcome of the race for Nigeria’s highest office. This verdict reaffirms the commitment to upholding the democratic principles enshrined in the Nigerian constitution and promoting fair and equitable representation for all states in the country.