Two of the top political parties in the race to elect Nigeria’s next president, namely All Progressive Congress (APC), and Labour Party (LP), reportedly submitted placeholders to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in place of actual running mates. By this, the duo can replace the placeholders with permanent running mates after they complete the ongoing consultations amongst party members. Analysts believe that this is a political move by both Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, and the third force, LP, to assemble the right duo that would increase their chances of victory in the forthcoming election. 

In case you missed it 

  • By INEC’s deadline, political parties with presidential candidates were to submit the names of their running mates by 6pm of 17th June 2022. 
  • The presidential candidates of the People Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso publicly named their running mates. 
  • Nigeria’s former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar, picked Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, while the two-term governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, announced Ladipo Johnson. 

What they are saying 

  • The presidential candidate of PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, speaking on the inability of the parties to select a permanent running mate, questioned the clarity of his counterparts. He said, “In developed democratic countries, the process and picking of a running mate by a presidential candidate is a step to understanding the capacity of a candidate and his capability to do the job.”
  • The media aide of the APC presidential candidate, Tunde Rahman, reacting to the comments by Alhaji Atiku said that the opposition party “should pay attention to resolving their internal crisis; they failed to fulfill all their internal promises.” Speaking on behalf of the Bola Tinubu, Mr. Tunde said PDP should stop promoting campaign propaganda. 
  • INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, while speaking on a televised interview, clarified that the Nigerian constitution does not support placeholders. He stated that INEC considers the name submitted to them as running mates.

Electoral Act 2022
Section 29(1) of the 2022 Electoral Act, as amended, provides that Nigerian political parties must submit the names of their candidates and running mates 180 days before the date for the general elections. 

  • Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2022 further makes provision for the withdrawal and substitution of candidates 90 days before the date for the general elections. 

What this means 
By INEC’s statement and the Electoral Act 2022, both APC and LP have submitted the names of their presidential flag bearers and running mates, although they can substitute these names 90 days before election date. This implies that APC and LP have till November 2022 to substitute the names submitted to INEC if there would be one as Nigeria’s presidential election is on the 25th of February 2023. 

What’s more 

  • To withdraw or substitute a candidate whose name the political party has submitted to INEC, the candidate must submit a withdrawal letter and affidavit addressed to the commission and the political party.
  • For the submission of names of the State Governors and State Assembly candidates, INEC fixed 15th July 2022. 
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