In a response filed before the tribunal, the commission said the PDP flag bearer failed to score at least, one-quarter of the votes cast in at least two-thirds of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and as such could not have been declared the winner.
As against the claim by the petitioners, INEC added that the election was conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 and was not marred by any corrupt practices.
The commission insisted that the APC candidate, Bola Tinubu was duly elected as the President-elect.The commission said the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate met all the legal requirements to be so announced as the winner.
It argued that a candidate must not secure 25 per cent of votes in the FCT to be declared the winner.
On why it returned Tinubu as the winner, INEC said the APC candidate scored 25 per cent of the valid votes cast in 29 states of the Federation. The commission added that by the margin of the lead, it did not act hastily, as claimed by Atiku and the PDP in declaring Tinubu the winner.
It noted that Tinubu scored 25 per cent of the valid votes cast in 29 states, namely: Ekiti, Kwara, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Yobe, Lagos, Gombe, Adamawa, Katsina, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Niger, Benue, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Kogi, Bauchi, Plateau, Bayelsa, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto, Taraba, Borno and Rivers.
It added that the FCT, beyond being the country’s capital “has no special constitutional status over and above the other 36 states of the Federation” to require a candidate in the presidential election to obtain at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in the FCT before being declared winner of the presidential election.
The commission subsequently urged the Tribunal to dismiss Atiku’s petition.