Placeholder is a unique Nigerian invention”, no legal provision — INEC 

Abiodun OBA 

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has confirmed that the “placeholder is a unique Nigerian invention” for which there is no legal provision. 

INEC Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Dr Festus Okoye, made this known in a chat with Arise TV. 

Okoye said, “placeholder is a unique Nigerian invention” for which there is no legal provision, adding that the electoral umpire could 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.” 

He added that the electoral umpire could 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.” 

Okoye said, “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 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 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.” 

However, National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said the party has not breached any law in nominating its vice presidential candidate, saying it took its decision after “careful” legal consultations. 

Addressing State House correspondents after accompanying Ekiti State Governor-Elect, Mr Abiodun Oyebanji, on a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, Adamu said APC was comfortable with what it had done. 

On speculations that Kabir Masari may not want to step down if he is indeed standing in as Tinubu’s running mate, Adamu said such speculations should be dismissed because “we are not in the speculative world. We are governed by the laws of the land. There’s nothing our presidential candidate has done with regards to returning his forms that is not within the confines of the law of the land.” 

He continued: “Everything we have done so far, we did very carefully with legal consultation and we are cocksure, we are not going to have the kind of speculation that you are professing at this point in time. We are very comfortable with what we have done.” 

Former Borno State governor, Senator Kashim Shettima; Kano State governor, Umar Ganduje; and Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, are said to be top among those being considered as Tinubu’s running mate. 

In like manner, Dr Doyin Okupe announced that he would be “standing in as the vice-presidential candidate” of Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour party standard bearer. 

The LP is in talks with Senator Musa Kwankwaso of New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP; and former INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega of the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, among others, for an alliance. 

If that happens, Okupe would give way to another person as LP vice presidential candidate. Parties have up to July 17 to substitute candidates. 

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