Tribunal Aftermath : Abuja Residents Demands for Full State Status

By Jude Atupulazi

In what appears to be a dramatic twist following the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, in Abuja, which dismissed the petitions of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP; and the Labour Party, LP, and which ruled that Abuja enjoyed no special status and was just like other states, Abuja indigenes are reportedly set to approach the court to demand for full state status.

They are demanding for a governor, three senators, reps, and state assembly.

According to a post made on his verified X account formerly known as Twitter, Daniel Bwala, former spokesman of Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, said they made the demand following the Presidential Petition Tribunal Court’s Judgment which stated that Abuja was just like any other state.

He wrote: ‘Following the Presidential Election Petition Court’s Judgment which states to the effect that Abuja is just like any other state; I am hearing that the natives of Abuja are approaching the court for an order mandating FGN to let them produce their governor and 3 senators amongst other peculiarities of a state. What is good for Guinea is also good for Uganda. Lollllllllll’

Meanwhile, the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has ruled that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has no special status over other 36 states of the federation over the 25% required votes in the Presidential Election held on February 25.

The court, in its ruling on Wednesday, September 6, said the FCT was not superior to any state. The tribunal said the Labour Party’s interpretation of 134 (2) (b) of the constitution was completely fallacious, if not outrightly ridiculous.

Section 134 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) stipulates that a presidential candidate must attain or score a majority of votes cast in a presidential election, where two or more candidates are involved, and at least 25% in two-thirds of the 36 states and FCT to meet the constitutional requirement to be declared as duly elected as President of Nigeria.

Recall that Peter Obi, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, was the only candidate in the February 25th Election with up to 25% votes in the FCT. He won about 59 per cent of the votes cast in the FCT, which neither President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (19 per cent) nor Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (15 per cent) scored.

The PDP and the Labour Party presidential candidates have since announced their intention to challenge the Tribunal Judgement at the Supreme Court in what many believe would be a test case for the nation’s democracy.