Senator Oserheimen Osunbor, a former governor of Edo State, claims that no provision of the Nigerian Constitution mandates that a presidential candidate must win 25 percent of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Remember how many Nigerians understood the relevant portion of the constitution, portraying various interpretations of the requirement that a presidential candidate receive the FCT.
Nevertheless, Osunbor, a law professor and two-term senator, said that there is no controversy because “the Constitution does not need a win in any particular place, the FCT inclusive,” in a statement on Friday that he personally signed.
“There is no section in our constitution that requires a presidential candidate to score “25% of the FCT”.Some people are simply reading into the Constitution what is not there.
“What the constitution states clearly in section 133 is that to be declared winner the candidate must score at least 25% in “two – thirds of the 36 States of the Federation and the capital Territory” .
“It did not say 25% in the FCT which is how the legal draftsman would have rendered it if that was the intention,” the former governor said.
He argued that “In fact, the Constitution does not require a win in any particular place, the FCT inclusive.
“Ask any secondary school student who knows English comprehension the question, “Where does section 133 of the Constitution require a candidate to score 25%?
“The only correct answer would be in two-third of the States of the Federation and the FCT.
“I have read and listened to some lawyers dwell on the rule of interpretation of statutes and the use of word “and”.
“The first rule of interpretation is that where the language of the statute is clear (as in this case), you do not need to belabor the issue of interpretation. 25% of two-thirds of the States and the FCT is clear enough. You do not need to go on a voyage of discovery to find what is not missing,” he said.
He stressed further that “the language of the section is simple and straightforward.”
“It is a known fact that during National Sports Festivals the medals table shows the 36 States and the FCT. When INEC chairman invites Resident Electoral Commissioners for a meet the REC from the States and the FCT attend. The same thing happens when the inspector General of Police meets with Commissioners of Police from the States and the FCT.
“Simply put, the 36 States and the FCT go together. It is disingenuous to argue otherwise,” Osunbor submitted