The vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Datti Baba-Ahmed, has called into question the constitutionality of swearing in the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, on May 29.
Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, was declared the winner of the presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 1.
But Baba-Ahmed, who made a live appearance Wednesday on Channels Television’s Politics Today, argued that the APC failed to satisfy the requirements of Section 134 (2)(a) and (b) of the constitution for election to the office of the President.
According to the provisions of that section, the rightful winner is one who “has the highest number of votes cast at the election” and “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”.
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Addressing President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the LP vice-presidential candidate made the argument that going ahead with Tinubu’s inauguration would be unconstitutional.
“Mr President, do not hold that inauguration. CJN, Your Lordship, do not partake in unconstitutionality,” he said.
According to him, swearing in a ticket that has not met the requirements of the constitution is ending democracy.
“That is my interpretation and that is indeed a correct interpretation,” Baba-Ahmed added. You cannot swear [in] people who have not met the constitutional requirements; you can’t do that.
“If you do it, you have done something unlawful, something unconstitutional. I’m not taking risks with my safety and with my life. It was more extreme for [INEC Chairman, Mahmood] Yakubu to issue that certificate; it was reckless. He’s putting all our lives in danger.”
Seeking Legal Redress
The LP and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, on Tuesday, filed a petition at the Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja, challenging Tinubu’s declaration as the winner of the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
The petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023 has INEC, Tinubu, his running mate Senator Kashim Shettima, and the APC as the 1st to 4th respondents.
The petitioners are praying for the tribunal to declare Tinubu as not duly elected with a majority of the lawful votes cast. They want an order mandating INEC to retrieve the certificate of return issued to the APC candidate and issue a fresh one to Obi.
The petitioners specifically alleged that at the time of the election, Tinubu was not qualified to contest.
They also argued that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act 2022.
Obi prayed the tribunal to make an order cancelling the election and compelling INEC to conduct a fresh election in which Tinubu, Shettima, and the APC will not participate.