Falana Reveals FCT Classified As 37th State


Femi Falana SAN

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has revealed that votes cast in all parts of Nigeria are equal.

Falana spoke on a Channels Television’s programme, Sunday Politics.

He added that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has been interpreted to be the country’s 37th state, while talking about the Section 134 of the 1999 Constitution.

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The section has become a contentious topic in the wake of the 2023 presidential election.

Falana, however, said he would not make a firm statement on the matter at this time because it has developed into a serious legal case that is currently pending in court.

He noted that court rulings on Abuja’s status already exist.

Falana said;

I had expressed an opinion on section 134 of the Constitution on the 23rd of January this year – that is about a month before the presidential election. On that occasion, I expressed a legal opinion and that is why I was very hesitant to join the bandwagon when lawyers started to give political interpretations of that section.

I did state that there is no electoral college in Nigeria and therefore the votes cast or recorded in any part of the country are equal. Section 134 of the Constitution specifically requires a winner of a presidential election to meet certain requirements. The first one is to score the majority of lawful votes and the second is territorial spread, a two-thirds majority of the states and the Federal Capital Territory.

And since the FCT has been interpreted to be a 37th state in Nigeria for the purpose of the constitution I didn’t see any controversy at the material time and that was when I expressed my opinion.

But now that it has become a serious legal issue and the matter is now pending in court, I am very reluctant to speak definitively on the section because there are decisions of the court on the status of Abuja.

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