‘Abuja Has Become A Serious Legal Issue’

Falana Knocks Malami Over Court Judgements On Section 84(12)

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has stated that the constitution of Nigeria is very clear about the status of Abuja and how it affects the winner of the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.

Falana on Sunday while speaking on Channels TV said he had expressed an earlier opinion about Abuja’s status and the outcome of any presidential election in Nigeria well before the conduct and outcome of the 2023 presidential election.

According to him, there is no electoral college in Nigeria and therefore the votes cast or recorded in any part of the country are equal.

He added that according to Section 134 of the constitution, Abuja is considered to be the 37th state in Nigeria for the purpose of the election and there’s is no controversy about the position of the constitution.

Falana however added that lawyers have started giving political interpretations to the affected section of the constitution and since the matter is now in court, he won’t want to talk too much about it.

Naija News reports he stated this while speaking about the controversy on a candidate needing to win at least 25 percent of the votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja to be declared president.

“I had expressed an opinion on section 134 of the Constitution on the 23rd of January this year – that is about a month before the presidential election. On that occasion, I expressed a legal opinion and that is why I was very hesitant to join the bandwagon when lawyers started to give political interpretations of that section.

“I did state that there is no electoral college in Nigeria and therefore the votes cast or recorded in any part of the country are equal. Section 134 of the Constitution specifically requires a winner of a presidential election to meet certain requirements. The first one is to score the majority of lawful votes and the second is territorial spread, a two-thirds majority of the states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“And since the FCT has been interpreted to be a 37th state in Nigeria for the purpose of the constitution I didn’t see any controversy at the material time and that was when I expressed my opinion.

“But now that it has become a serious legal issue and the matter is now pending in court, I am very reluctant to speak definitively on the section because there are decisions of the court on the status of Abuja,” he said.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu who won the 2023 presidential election failed to win Abuja and that is one of the grounds the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Peter Obi is holding unto in asking the election tribunal to nullify the result of the 2023 presidential election.

Obi in the suit wants the court to hold that Tinubu, having failed to score one-quarter of the votes cast at the Presidential Election in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, was not entitled to be declared and returned as the winner of the presidential election held on 25 February 2023.

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