Ajulo counsels lawyers against politicising 25% votes requirement in FCT

Renowned constitution lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, has counselled lawyers against politicising the issue of obtaining 25 per cent in FCT as a requirement to win the Presidential election.

Mr Ajulo said this on Sunday in Abuja against the backdrop of some lawyers insisting that securing 25 per cent of votes in FCT was necessary to secure victory for any presidential candidate.

Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party, secured 25 per cent in FCT in the February 25 general elections, while the President-elect Bola Tinubu, the APC candidate, scored 20 per cent.

This has generated several comments and reactions from legal practitioners, while some give credence to the 25 per cent, others said the FCT should be treated as a state.

Mr Ajulo, however, said politics had been mixed with the law to please certain quarters of the political class, adding that it was a dangerous mix.

“There is politics, and there is the law, and while they can sometimes intersect, they should not be muddled up when discussing pertinent legal issues,” the lawyer said.

He said such legal issues could affect the country and the collective development of her citizens.

He said it was disturbing when some of his professional colleagues analysed issues of the 25 per cent requirement, saying some comments were uncomfortable and a gross misinterpretation.

“Some lawyers give certain legal opinions they do not even believe in because of politics; it is the common man on the streets that suffers this dangerous game of deliberate misinterpretation of our laws.”

Mr Ajulo said the deliberate misinterpretation of some lawyers was a mockery of the nation’s constitution and the legal profession, adding that such had a way of turning to hunt its makers.

He said it was imperative to set the record straight amidst the brouhaha surrounding the interpretation of section 134(2) of the constitution and the multifarious explanations by public commentators and senior lawyers.

Mr Ajulo further said there was a need to state the true position of the law, devoid of emotion and political sentiments.

He said, “candidates for an election to the office of the president shall be deemed to have been duly elected where there being more than two candidates for the election.

“First, he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and secondly, 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 FCT.”

According to him, even though the FCT is not a state, the constitution has clothed it with the toga of a State, and all the powers of a governor in a state are vested in the Minister of the FCT.

He said, while the Houses of Assembly of the 36 states of the federation legislate for each state respectively, the National Assembly makes laws for the FCT.

Mr Ajulo said that while the states had their respective Local Government Areas, the FCT also had area councils.

The constitutional lawyer said, “a reasonable, just and sensible interpretation of section 134(2) would then be that scoring 25 per cent of the votes cast in the FCT is like scoring 25 per cent in any other State of the federation.”


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