Presidential running mate: APC’s placeholder sign of ill-preparedness – Atiku




 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has berated the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and others over their inability to come up with their “permanent” running mates within the time-frame stipulated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The former number two man said the nation’s top job does not need someone who is hesitant to make decision in picking his running mate.

Apart from Tinubu, former Anambra state governor and presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) among others, did not meet INEC’s deadline in submitting names of their running mates.

Both Tinubu and Obi sent placeholders to INEC pending when they would be substituted with substantive running mates, but Kwankwaso eventually named Ladipo Johnson as his ‘running mate.’  

What the Electoral Act says

With the June 17, 2022 deadline, INEC, via its portal, blocked political parties that failed to meet up with the submission of names of their presidential candidates and their running mates ahead of next year’s poll.

While Section 29(1) of the 2022 Electoral Act, as amended, provides that political parties shall submit names of their candidates, not later than 180 days before the date appointed for the general election, Section 31 of the Act also gives the political parties the window to withdraw and substitute their candidates, not later than 90 days before the election.


In very clear terms, Section 31 states: “A candidate may withdraw his candidature by notice in writing signed by the candidate to the political party that nominated him for such election and the political party shall covey such withdrawal to the Commission not later than 90 days to the election.”


For administrative convenience, the electoral body set  6 pm of Friday June 17th, 2022, as deadline for the submission of names of candidates for the Presidential and National Assembly election and 15th July, 2022, for the Governors and State Assembly candidates.

Atiku blasts counterparts

And berating his colleague-presidential candidates over their inability to meet up with the INEC deadline on running mates, Atiku, in a statement Monday in Abuja, lashed at his counterparts, especially from the APC, NNPP, and the LP over what he described as lack of clarity and inability to make decisions at a critical time to pick their permanent running mates.

The PDP standard bearer said picking running mates by candidates vying for any big office like the presidency is very important in a democracy.

“The office of the presidency needs someone who has the clarity to make decisions without hesitation.

“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,” he said.

Tinubu hits back

But in a reaction, Asiwaju Tinubu told Atiku to focus more on resolving the internal crisis within PDP.

Tinubu, who spoke through his media aide, Tunde Rahman, told the BBC that: “The PDP should pay attention to resolving their internal crisis; they failed to fulfill all their internal promises.

“They should stop the propaganda campaign on Muslim-Muslim ticket, amongst others.”

 INEC

Meanwhile, INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, has said the placeholder concept was not recognised by the Nigerian Constitution.

Speaking on Arise TV monitored Monday in Abuja, Okoye said: “The issue on the legality within the framework is that a presidential candidate cannot run alone and an associate must be nominated which the parties did. As far as we are concerned, the parties didn’t submit the names as a placeholder.

“The issue of placeholder is a Nigerian creation that has no place in the constitution. The INEC cannot issue a mandate regarding the names to be submitted for these positions.”

To withdraw the placeholder, Okoye said, such person must submit a withdrawal letter and affidavit addressed to the commission and the party before they can be replaced, ahead of the 2023 elections.

“There is a period for withdrawals for the placeholders to pen an official affidavit which will be submitted to the commission and the party to ratify it,” he further clarified.

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