The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja to dismiss all the petitions challenging the declaration of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
INEC had declared that Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes to win the election.
The commission declared that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, came second with 6,984,520 votes, while it announced Labour Party’s Peter Obi as the second runner-up with 6,101,533 votes.
However, Atiku, Obi and some other parties rejected the results announced by INEC and heeded for the tribunal with prayers that the election should be nullified.
All the opposition parties challenging Tinubu’s victory joined INEC as a co-defendant.
In its defence to the various petitions, filed through its team of lawyers led by A. B. Mahmoud (SAN), INEC described Atiku’s petition as “grossly incompetent, vague and academic, saying it was an abuse of the court process.”
INEC affirmed that having scored at least one-quarter of the valid votes cast in 29 states, which is over and above the 24 states threshold required by the constitution in addition to scoring the highest number of the lawful votes cast at the election, Tinubu was properly declared winner and returned as the President-elect.
On the issue of Tinubu not winning the FCT, INEC argued that going by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, “the FCT has the status of a state and ought to be recognised as one of the states of the federation.”
INEC insisted that it declared Tinubu as winner of the election, considering that he “scored highest valid votes cast at the election and at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in not less than two-thirds of the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
Addressing Atiku’s petition, INEC told the tribunal that the PDP candidate could not have been declared winner as he failed to score at least one-quarter of the votes cast in at least two-thirds of the 36 states of the federation.
INEC also insisted that the election was conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.
The electoral body said that it kept its promise to Nigerians “in conducting free, fair, transparent and credible elections by deploying the BVAS device in conducting accreditation of voter’s electronically and uploading scanned copies of polling unit election results to the IRev portal.”
INEC also maintained that uploading election results to the lReV portal is not a condition precedent to the declaration of the winner of an election under the Electoral act.
“The Act does not require the 1st respondent to transmit results to the IRev portal before determining or declaring the winner of the presidential election.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress has also urged the tribunal to dismiss the various petitions challenging its candidate’s victory.