The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained the circumstances under which a political party can substitute its vice presidential candidate ahead of the 2023 general elections.
This comes amid the controversy surrounding the alleged nomination of placeholders as vice-presidential candidates by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Labour Party (LP), pending the conclusion of consultations for a substantive candidate for the 2023 general election.
This was made known by the INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye while appearing on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today. Where he said that the electoral body will take a decision in accordance with the Electoral Act.
For INEC, the law does not give any political party the right to replace a validly nominated candidate as it is the prerogative of the individual to be substituted.
The LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi, had submitted Doyin Okupe as placeholder vice-presidential candidate, while Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Lagos State governor and presidential candidate of the APC submitted Ibrahim Masari, as placeholder running mate.
Okoye said, until the political parties fulfill the conditions for substituting running mates, the commission will not recognise names other than the ones submitted.
“A political party cannot substitute a nominated candidate, except in two instances: if the nominated candidate dies. Or if the nominated candidate withdraws from the race.
“Any withdrawal must be accompanied by a letter written by the nominated candidate to the political party, indicating he has withdrawn from the race, along with a sworn affidavit sworn.
“The party will now forward same to INEC. And these are the documents of withdrawal, which will state who the replacements are.
“The issue of withdrawal is at the discretion of the nominated candidate and no one else”, he said.