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2023: How Obi, Tinubu, Atiku, Others Can Substitute Running Mates–INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said vice presidential placeholders could untie themselves from their validly-recognised ticket by writing to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, accompanied with a sworn affidavit of withdrawal.

The INEC stated its position on the substitution of candidates for the forthcoming presidential election against the backdrop of the decision by the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Labour Party, LP, to submit placeholders (interim or tentative running mates) with their presidential candidates to supposedly consummate their respective presidential tickets ahead to beat the June 17 deadline.

Parties’ presidential tickets are considered valid with running mates; otherwise such tickets would be inchoate and therefore rendered invalid.

Some of the presidential candidates submitted to the electoral umpire, placeholders, who could be substituted later but within the substitution window or period as provided by the extant law- the Electoral Act.

Only Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, would appear to have beaten the deadline and submitted the name of his substantive running mate- Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa-to the INEC.

APC and Labour Party, LP have yet to pick their substantive running mates.

APC candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, submitted the name of a former National Welfare Officer of the APC, Alhaji Kabiru Masari, while Peter Obi of the LP submitted to the INEC the name of his Campaign Director-General, Dr Doyin Okupe.

Appearing on Arise TV on Monday morning, Festus Okoye, the INEC’s National Commissioner of Information and Voter Education, said the running mates could only be substituted via a letter to the Commission, attaching a sworn affidavit.

“The law says that as a presidential candidate, you must nominate an associate to run with you and as far as the Independent National Electoral Commission is concerned, the presidential candidates have submitted their associates to run with them in the presidential election.

“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’.

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

“Politically 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 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.”

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