CLAIM: “Breaking News! Supreme Court Nullifies Presidential Election, Orders INEC to Conduct New Votes” – Online Blog
On March 7, 2019, an online blog, Exclusive103.com published a news report with the title: “Breaking News! Supreme Court Nullifies Presidential Election, Orders INEC to Conduct New Votes.“
In the report, the Blog reported that the Supreme Court, Nigeria’s apex court, had nullified Nigeria’s presidential election held on February 23 and instructed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election.
The post generated a lot of traffic on Facebook after it was posted on the fan page of the opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar. The fan page has over 30,000 members and the news story generated over 100 comments and has been shared by at least, 480 persons.
The presidential election was held on February 23 and President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) was declared the winner on February 27. INEC presented the certificate of return to Mr. Buhari and the vice-presidential candidate, Yemi Osinbajo that day.
On the same day, the major opposition candidate, Mr. Atiku Abubakar and his party rejected the election result and proceeded to challenge the election result in court.
The election petition tribunal, on March 6, 2019, granted the prayer of Mr Abubakar to inspect the electoral materials INEC used to conduct the election. However, this does not equal a nullification of the election results.
For an election to be nullified in Nigeria, two criteria must not have been fulfilled. But President Muhammadu Buhari satisfied the two criteria for election into the office of President – He secured a majority of the votes cast and scored over 25% of the votes cast in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states. That is the provision of Section 134 (1) of the Constitution.
Here’s What The Electoral Act Says:
Section 134 of the Electoral Act 2010 states:
“An election petition shall be filed within 21 days after the date of the declaration of results of the elections.
“An election tribunal shall deliver its judgment in writing within 180 days from the date of the filing of the petition.
An appeal from a decision of an election tribunal or court shall be heard and disposed of within 90 days from the date of the delivery of judgment of the tribunal.”
So, no court could have delivered judgment on the presidential election between February 27 when the result was announced and March 7, 2019 when exclusive 103.com published its claim, a period of just eight days!
That alone shows that the claim is FALSE.
Also, a search on the website of exclusive103.com contains no information on the court where the judgment was given nor the name of the judge. Besides, a web search does not show the claim on any other platform.
None of the traditional media reported the claim. Exclusive103.com was the only online platform that reported the claim.
Our Conclusion? This claim is absolutely false and probably a deliberate attempt to drive traffic on the “news” platform.