February 3, 2023

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained the conditions for political parties to substitute candidates whose names have already been forwarded to the commission.

This comes amid the controversy surrounding the alleged nomination of placeholders as vice-presidential candidates by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Labour party, pending the conclusion of consultations for a substantive candidate for the 2023 general election.

This was made known by the INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye while appearing on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today. Where he said that the electoral body will take a decision in accordance with the Electoral Act.

For INEC, the law does not give any political party the right to replace a validly nominated candidate as it is the prerogative of the individual to be substituted.

What the INEC National Commissioner is saying

Okoye said, “As far as the law is concerned and as far as the commission is concerned, the commission makes it mandatory that the moment a presidential candidate emerges, such a presidential candidate must nominate an associate who shall run with him/her as a vice-presidential candidate,” he said on Friday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today. “And so, both are seen as Siamese twins; they move together, and they fall together.

“In the forms submitted by the various political parties, they submitted forms relating to their presidential candidates and they also submitted forms relating to their vice-presidential presidential candidates, and that is in compliance with the provisions of the constitution and in compliance with the provisions of the law.”

Candidates can be substituted by reason of death, voluntary withdrawal

  • Okoye explained further, “There is a provision in the Electoral Act for withdrawal of candidates validly nominated and the law provides that a political party cannot substitute a candidate that has been validly nominated except in two instances; if the nominated candidate dies or if the nominated candidate withdraws from the race.
  • “And in terms of withdrawal, the nominated candidate shall – in his own writing – write a letter to the political party that nominated him, indicating that he has withdrawn from the race and that must also be accompanied by an affidavit duly sworn to by the said candidate.
  • “Then the political party that nominated the candidate will now forward same to the Independent National Electoral Commission saying that our presidential candidate has withdrawn, or our vice-presidential candidate has withdrawn, and these are the documents of withdrawal and this is the person we are using to replace.
  • “But as of today, the political parties nominated their presidential candidates and nominated their vice-presidential candidates, so the issue of withdrawal is at the absolute discretion of the duly nominated candidate and no one else.”

What you should know

  • Recall the submission of the names of Ibrahim Kabiru Masari and Dr Doyin Okupe as the vice-presidential candidates for the APC and Labour party respectively, to INEC, has generated a lot of controversies, as there are reports that they are holding the positions in lieu of substantive candidates after consultations have finished.

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