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Presidential Election : The 1999 Constitution says 24 states and Abuja. What does this mean?

By Mazi Jaka

In 1979, Shehu Shagari faced a similar scenario when he scored 25 percent in 12 of the 19 states of the federation at the time.

With the 1979 Constitution requiring him to score at least 25 percent in two-thirds of the states, a crisis ensured over what should be considered as two-thirds of 19 states: 12 or 13?

The supreme court concluded that it would be “12 two-thirds” — meaning 25 percent in 12 states and 25 percent of two-thirds of a 13th state.

Shagari automatically met the requirement — but the opposition cried foul.

Now that the result of FCT has been announced, APC had just 19.8 percent and PDP 16.1 percent, compared to Labour Party’s 61 percent.

WHAT DOES THE CONSTITUTION SAY EXACTLY?

Section 134 (2) says: “A candidate for an election to the office of President shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, there being more than two candidates for the election: (a) he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and (b) he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“(3) In a default of a candidate duly elected in accordance with subsection (2) of this section their shall be a second election in accordance with subsection (4) of this section at which the only candidates shall be (a) the candidate who scored the highest number of votes at any election held in accordance with the said subsection (2) of this section; and (b) one among the remaining candidates who has a majority of votes in the highest number of States, so however that where there are more than one candidate with majority of votes in the highest number of States, the candidate among them with the highest total of votes cast at the election shall be the second candidate for the election.”

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