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Regarding this latest nonsense presently flying about regarding the constitutional requirement of the leading candidate in a presidential election of more than two candidates also having a 25% spread of votes over 24 states and the FCT, Abuja, the law only actually meant the leading candidate must have scored 25% in at least 24 states in order to be declared winner of the presidential election.

While some people are insisting that in addition to that, his or her tally must include yet an additional minimum of 25% in the FCT, Abuja, thereby adding up to a minimum of 25% in 25 federating units, they are wrong.

The Constitution mentions 25% in 24 states and the FCT Abuja, because the Constitution, itself, treats the FCT, for various purposes, as a state, but it is not a 37th state thus the requirement is not 2/3 of 37 states.

Nevertheless, where, for instance, the leading candidate scored 25% in only 23 states but got 25% in the FCT, that 25% in the FCT shall suffice as 25% in one more state, thus completing the required tally of 24 states.

As such, Abuja, in that case, suffices as the 24th state and he or she thereby meets the constitutional requirement.

There is an obvious reason the law mentions the FCT, Abuja: it is part and parcel of Nigeria, people live, pay taxes and vote there and cannot be discounted for purposes of electoral relevance and impact.

Of course, where the leading candidate gets 25% in any 24 states but does not get that in the FCT, he has still met the requirement, is the winner of the election and will be so declared.

In which case, and, politically speaking, just ensure to be on top in a field of more than two candidates and get your 25% from absolutely any combination of federating units adding up to 24, including or excluding Abuja, and you’re home and dry and on your way to Aso Rock!

Though the law has not been tested in this area, I cannot imagine a court being inclined unto the woeful incompetence and utter absurdity of interpreting the law to the effect of denying victory to a leading candidate that scored 25% in 24, or, indeed, even more states but has not done so in the FCT.

No one had even given this matter any thought until Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, started a personal crusade over it months to the election in pursuance of an agenda I still can’t quite fathom.

Indeed, I’m quite perplexed why a Learned Silk should expend that many man hours on something so decidedly academic!

But, this is Nigeria where everyone apparently has a hidden agenda under his belt.

Regardless, the law is the law and it is 25% in a minimum of any 24 states, one of which may or may not be the FCT, Abuja.

Onokpasa, a lawyer and member, All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council, writes from Abuja.

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