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INEC speaks on Tinubu, Peter Obi’s running mates, give conditions for change

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Barrister Festus Okoye of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Monday gave conditions on how presidential candidates could change their nominated running mates.

Speaking on the concept of ‘placeholder’, he said, it’s strange to Nigerian laws, but the only the imaginary running mate could be changed within a stipulated was the nominee’s withdrawal with an affidavit.

He said: “The concept of “placeholder” for vice-presidential candidates “has no place in our constitution and legal framework”.

INEC said there is no provision for “placeholder”, or “spaceholder”, hence names of running mates already submitted will be recognized until such a time when due process of withdrawal takes place within a stipulated time.

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The explanation follows the submission of candidates names in line with the 17th June deadline given to the 17 political political parties that participated in the primary elections.

To meet up with the deadlines, the presidential flagbearer, Ahmed Bola Tinubu submitted the name of Kabir Masari from Katsina as his running mate, while, the former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi submitted the name of Dr. Doyin Okupe as his running mate.

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But the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who is the flagbearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party nominated the incumbent governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyichukwu Okowa as his running mate.

Speaking on Arise Television on Monday, Barrister Okoye who is the Commissioner for Information and Voter Education of INEC, said the “placeholder is a unique Nigerian invention” for which the commission’s law has no provision.

According to him, the electoral umpire can only replace a candidate if the person writes a “sworn affidavit stating that he is withdrawing from the race within the time frame provided by the law”.

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“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,” Okoye said.

“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’.

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