Independent National Electoral Commission has given conditions by which political parties can substitute the names of validly nominated candidates.
According to INEC, the law does not permit political parties the right to replace the names of candidates whose names have been forwarded to the commission.
This comes amid speculations that some political parties nominated placeholders while talks are ongoing for selection of substantive candidates.
The All Progressives Congress reportedly picked forwarded the name of Ibrahim Kabiru Masari as its vice-presidential candidate, while the Labour Party nominated Doyin Okupe.
Speaking on the issue, the INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, said the electoral body would decide in accordance with the Electoral Act.
He said while appearing on Channels TV on Friday, “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. 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.”
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candidate shall – in his own writing – write a letter to the political party that nominated him, indicating that he has withdrawn from the race and that must also be accompanied by an affidavit duly sworn to by the said candidate.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will now forward same to the Independent National Electoral Commission saying that our presidential candidate has withdrawn, or our vice-presidential candidate has withdrawn, and these are the documents of withdrawal and this is the person we are using to replace.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.”
According to Okoye who is also INEC’s Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, the political parties submitted forms containing the names of their presidential and vice-presidential candidates, as well as their particulars and sworn affidavits.
He stressed that none of the political parties indicated that they were submitting the document or name of a candidate as a placeholder.
“All the political parties that submitted list and particulars of their candidates said they were submitting the list of their presidential candidates and vice-presidential candidates; the issue of submitting a name in lieu, or submitting a name as a placeholder did not even arise,” the INEC official stated.