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2023: Our constitution does not recognise ‘placeholder’ – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the concept of “placeholder” is not enshrined in its constitution.

INEC’s Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, made this known on Monday during an interview on ARISE TV.

In order to beat the deadline, some parties submitted names of vice-presidential candidates whom they described as placeholders.

Recall that Kabiru Masari, a politician from Katsina, was named as the running mate to Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but some political analysts had said the APC welfare secretary is a “placeholder” before a final candidate is named.

Reacting to the development, Okoye said the “placeholder is a unique Nigerian invention” for which the commission’s law has no provision.

Okoye said, “The constitution makes it very clear that you cannot run alone as a presidential candidate and must nominate an associate to run with you for that position, and as far as INEC 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.

“Political 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 a 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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