Home Opinion 25% Spread: Another Judicial Conundrum in the 2023 Elections

25% Spread: Another Judicial Conundrum in the 2023 Elections

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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By Emmanuel Gandu

The politics of spreading winnings of 25% in states and the Federal Capital Territory as a requirement for a candidate to be declared winner of Nigeria’s presidential election is raring its head again.

You would recall that famous Richard Akinjide’s 12 two-thirds master stroke in 1979.

In that 1979 presidential election saga between Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari’s NPN and Obafemi Awolowo’s UPN, Richard Akinjide was the lead council to Shagari.

In that year’s election, the requirement was for the winner to secure 25% of lawful votes cast in two-thirds of the states as enshrined in the constitution.

Akinjide came up with a masterstroke of interpretation of the two-thirds of the states to mean 12 two-thirds of states in Nigeria and hence Shehu Shagari was declared the winner by the Supreme Court.

Today in Nigeria, neither of the two leading candidates secured 25% in FCT as required by the constitution to be declared a winner.

Are we going to witness another judicial dynamics of political interpretation or arithmetic of 12 two-thirds conundrums like that of 1979, or both?

It, therefore, remains to be seen whether INEC will declare any of the candidates as the winner in total violation of the 1979 constitution as amended or call for a rerun or any of the aggrieved parties will head to the Supreme Court for interpretation and adjudication.

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