The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ruled out the use of a “placeholder” or dummy vice presidential candidate by political parties on Monday, saying it violates Nigeria’s constitution.
INEC had set a deadline of June 17 for the nomination of vice-presidential candidates after the presidential primaries were completed.
However, as some political parties continued to search for the rightful VP candidate, and to beat the deadline set by INEC for submission of names, some candidates, including Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress and Peter Obi of Labor Party, submitted names of vice-presidential candidates whom they described as “placeholders or dummies.”
But, while speaking during a chat on ARISE TV on Monday, INEC Commissioner for Voters’ Education and Information, Barrister Festus Okoye, ruled out the concept of “placeholder” for vice-presidential candidates, saying it has no place in the constitution of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“placeholder is a unique Nigerian invention” for which the commission’s law has no provision.
According to him, 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 placeholder,” he said.
According to him, 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, adding that 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.