Journalism of Courage

Vice-Presidential candidacy of Tinubu, Obi: No law backing placeholders, it’s illegal says INEC

 

In what seems like a direct reaction to the non-submission of vice-presidential candidates by APC’s Chief Bola Tinubu and Labour Party’s Mr Peter Obi, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says submitting names of their running mates as “placeholders” in their nomination forms to the commission is an illegality.

According to INEC, place or spaceholders as vice-presidential candidates has no place in Nigeria’s constitutional and legal framework.

Persecondnews recalls that Tinubu and Obi in a bid to beat the June 17 deadline for the submission of presidential and vice-presidential candidates to the commission had submitted some names as placeholders.

The People’s Democratic Party Presdential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had publicly picked and submitted the name of Delta Gov. Ifenayi Okowa as his running mate ahead of the 2023 poll.

Tinubu had submitted Mr Kabiru Masari (Kastina) as surrogate running mate to be changed later while Obi had put forward Dr Doyin Okupe (Ogun) as “standing in’’ running mate.

Among those being considered by Tinubu are former Borno Governor, Sen. Kashim Shettima; Kano Gov. Umar Ganduje and Plateau Gov. Simon Lalong.

Persecondnews learnt that Obi’s LP is in talks with Senator Musa Kwankwaso, presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), among others, for a possible alliance.

Reacting to the creation of the two parties – APC and LP, Dr Festus Okoye, INEC Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, said: “Placeholder is a unique Nigerian invention for which there is no legal provision.

“INEC could only replace a candidate if the person has sworn to an affidavit stating that he is withdrawing from the race within the time frame provided by law.

“The constitution makes it very clear that you cannot run alone as a presidential candidate. You must nominate an associate to run with you for that position.

“As far as INEC is concerned, the presidential candidates have submitted their associates to run with them in the presidential election.

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

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

Okoye added: “Political parties’ candidates have submitted names of associates to run with them, and that is the position of the law as at 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 substitution of candidates.”

 

 

 

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