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Saturday, July 2, 2022

INEC says concept of placeholder for presidential running mate strange to Nigeria law

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the concept of “placeholder” for vice-presidential candidates “has no place in our constitutional and legal framework.”

Following the completion of presidential primaries of political parties, INEC set June 17 as the deadline for the nomination of vice-presidential candidates.

The INEC commissioner for information and voter education, Festus Okoye said the “placeholder is a unique Nigerian invention” for which the commission’s law has no provision.

He added that the commission can only replace a candidate if the person writes a “sworn affidavit stating that he is withdrawing from the race within the time frame provided by the law.”

“The constitution makes it very clear that you cannot run alone as a presidential candidate and must nominate an associate to run with you for that position, and as far as INEC is concerned, the presidential candidates have submitted their associates to run with them in the presidential election,” Okoye said.

“As far as we are concerned, there’s no form submitted by the presidential candidate where they said ‘we’re submitting this person’s name as a place or space holder.”

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“The issue of space or place holder is a unique Nigerian invention that has no place in our constitutional and legal framework.

“Political parties’ candidates have submitted names of associates to run with them, and that is the position of the law as of today and nothing has changed.

“For there to be a substitution of a candidate, the vice-presidential candidate must write to INEC, with a sworn affidavit stating that he is withdrawing from the race within the time frame provided by the law. That’s the only way there can be a substitution of candidates.”

In order to beat the deadline, some parties submitted names of vice-presidential candidates who have been generally described as placeholders.

For instance, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu submitted the name of a Kaduna politician,  Kabiru Masari as the running mate, while Doyin Okupe was announced as the “standing in as the vice-presidential candidate” for the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Peter Obi.

It appears that only the candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar who had nominated the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.  


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