Alex Enumah in Abuja
Five residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, demanding an order to stop the swearing-in of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, on May 29, for failing to secure at least 25 percent of votes cast in the FCT.
Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared winner of the February 25 presidential poll with 8,794,726 votes.
The plaintiffs – Anyaegbunam Okoye, David Adzer, Jeffrey Ucheh, Osang Paul and Chibuike Nwanchukwu – sued for themselves and on behalf of other residents and registered voters in the FCT. The Originating Summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/578/2023 was filed on April 28.
The complainants, through their lawyer, Chuks Nwachukwu urged the court to stop 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.
They added that this should remain 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.
The plaintiffs aver that Tinubu failed to secure at least 25 percent of votes cast in the FCT.
They are asking the court to determine “whether or not the person who is to be elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and consequently administrator of the FCT through the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and the Federal Capital Territory Development Authority, on the first ballot is required by section 134(2)(b) of the Constitution to obtain at least 25 percent of the votes cast in the FCT.
“Whether the plaintiffs and other residents and registered voters in the FCT Abuja would not be discriminated against if any state within the Federal Republic of Nigeria were substituted for the FCT.”
Should the questions for determination be answered in the affirmative, the plaintiffs are praying for a declaration that “no candidate in the February 25th 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 cast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
The plaintiffs also want a declaration extending President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure pending when a successor is determined in accordance with the constitution.
The suit which cited the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami as first respondent and the CJN as second respondent in the matter also demanded “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.
THISDAY learnt that the matter has been fixed for Monday May 15, for mention.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had said a candidate need not secure 25 percent of the votes in the FCT to be declared winner because the FCT was not accorded any special status in the constitution as being “erroneously” portrayed.