2023 Elections: There Was No Need For INEC To Rush To Declare Results – Etiaba

The PDP governorship candidate says aggrieved citizens should not speculate about the outcome of the election as the electoral body still had a week to review the results.


File: Emeka Etiaba, SAN, on The 2023 Verdict on Friday, February 10, 2023.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Emeka Etiaba has alluded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) being hasty in its decision to declare the All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer, Bola Tinubu winner of the February 25 election.

Etiaba, who appeared in a Monday interview on Channels Television’s morning show, Sunrise Daily, said aggrieved citizens should not speculate about the outcome of the election as the electoral body still had a week to review the results.

“Section 72 of the Electoral Act gives INEC 14 days to announce results and that there was no need to rush; they are still within time, they still have seven days to review the election results,” he said.

“The law is the law; the law insists that law is what it is, not what an individual says it is.”

He also spoke on the open letter by Olisa Agbakoba, a counterpart of his, addressed to the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, and the multiple interpretations of Section 134 (2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

The section provides that a candidate can only be declared winner of a presidential election “if he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”

Etiaba, the governorship candidate in Anambra State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also faulted the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election.

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“These are the votes of the people and by the declaration of INEC, the candidate to have won the election did not score up to one-third of the election and it is something to be looked into,” he said.

The senior lawyer added that Section 229 interrogates the status of a state.

“The provision of this constitution shall apply to the Federal Capital Territory as if it were one of the states,” he explained.

According to him, in law, “it is settled that when you have a list in a legislation, any other thing that is not within that list is excluded. FCT is not one of the states, and it is totally excluded from the states by the constitution, which is the ground norm.”

Etiaba also cited the previous constitution, saying it made no mention of FCT (Abuja) because the FCT was not in place then, and Lagos was the capital.