The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has stated its position on the substitution of candidates for the forthcoming presidential election.
LAGOS HERALD can report that most of the presidential candidates submitted to the electoral umpire, what is being referred to as space or place keepers.
The name suggests that such vice-presidential candidates would be substituted later on as they were submitted to beat the deadline provided by the Electoral Act.
While Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, beat the deadline and submitted the name of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate, the likes of Labour Party, LP and the All Progressives Congress, APC, are yet to pick their running mates.
APC candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, submitted the name of Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, while Peter Obi of the LP gave INEC the name of his Campaign Director-General, Doyin Okupe.
And appearing on Arise TV on Monday morning, Festus Okoye, the INEC’s National Commissioner of Information and Voter Education, said the running mates can only be substituted if only they write 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 at 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.”