INEC clarifies ‘placeholder’ argument in wake of PDP lawsuit seeking candidates’

July 15, 2022
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has responded to the lawsuit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the disqualification of the All Progressives Congress and the Labour Party over their choice of presidential running mates.

Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, made this clarification on Friday, during an interview on AriseTV monitored by Ripples Nigeria.

Earlier, the PDP filed a lawsuit against INEC in an effort to prevent the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Bola Tinubu and the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi from choosing Kashim Shettima and Datti Baba-Ahmed respectively as their running mates.

The PDP also requested that the court decide that Kabiru Masari and Doyin Okupe, Tinubu and Obi’s respective former running mates, are required for each of them to be eligible to run for office alone.

The PDP is asking for a court injunction that would prevent the Independent National Electoral Commission from changing Tinubu and Obi’s running mates in the original summons with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1016/2022.

In this case, INEC, APC, Tinubu, Masari, Labour Party, Obi, and Okupe are the first to seventh respondents.

Tinubu had chosen Masari to serve as a stand-in so that he could meet the INEC deadline on June 17. Okupe, Obi’s campaign manager, was also put forward as a temporary running mate.

Read also:Osun: INEC begins probe into discovery of PVCs in drainage system

Masari and Okupe resigned after several weeks of discussion, and Tinubu and Obi then proposed Shettima and Baba-Ahmed as replacements.

In his clarification on Friday, Okoye noted that there was no provision for a placeholder in the forms submitted by the political parties.

He further cited Section 33 of the Electoral Act while buttressing the need for a fresh elections in the case of a Senatorial elections while the parties are free to nominate candidates, in the case of a presidential and governorship elections.

Okoye stated, “We cannot comment on the matter because it is in court but I reiterate, there is no provision for a placeholder in the forms they submitted.

“Section 33 of the Electoral Act provides for the substitution of a candidate on account of death or voluntary withdrawal by the candidate.

“A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute whose name has been submitted pursuant to section 32 of this Act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate.

“In the case of Senatorial elections, it is mandatory to hold fresh elections but in the case of presidential and governorship, the parties are the ones who nominate the candidates.”

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