Tinubu’s Legal Team Asserts FCT as Equivalent to Nigeria’s 37th State, Urges Dismissal of Petition

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The legal representatives of President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima have submitted their arguments to the Presidential Election Petition Court, seeking the dismissal of the petition filed by Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), and his party.

The counsel led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) for the President and his deputy, emphasized in their final written address that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja should be considered equivalent to the 37 states of Nigeria.

The esteemed senior lawyer contended that during the election, Tinubu, as the candidate of the All-Progressives Congress (APC), obtained 25% of the lawful votes in the FCT. He emphasized that any other interpretation would lead to chaos and anarchy in the country.

“We draw the court’s attention to the absence of punctuation (comma) in section 134(2)(b) of the constitution, particularly after ‘States’ and the following ‘and’ connecting the Federal Capital Territory with the States. Consequently, the reading of the subsection must be conjunctive and not disjunctive, as clearly stated in the Constitution. By virtue of section 299 of the Constitution, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, is deemed ‘as if’ it is the 37th state,” Olanipekun stated, representing the other lawyers defending the APC candidate.

He further characterized the arguments and testimonies presented by the challengers as “frivolous, bogus, and based on hearsay.”

In their written address, Olanipekun urged the court to dismiss the petition as lacking merit, substance, and good faith.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also countered the petitioners’ “remote” argument that his client’s election should be nullified for failing to obtain 25 percent or one-quarter of the votes recorded in the FCT. He emphasized that the use of “and” in the constitution is conjunctive, not disjunctive, and therefore does not support the claim.

“This case is clearly devoid of relevant and admissible evidence. The appellants have failed to grasp that judges do not possess the ability to foresee the future, akin to oracles, and subsequently proclaim a new leader following the passing of a previous one.

“Judges cannot perform miracles in handling civil claims, least of all fabricate evidence to assist a plaintiff in winning their case,” the address stated emphatically.

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