2023 General Elections: Much Ado About “Placeholder”

By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau

With many Nigerians giving many interpretations to “Placeholder” position in the political lexicon of Nigeria, political parties who have adopted such novel approach to beat the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the submission of names of political parties’ Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates for the 2023 General Elections have not violated any law after all.

Prompt News can confirm that both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Labour Party (LP) which adopted the Placeholder method in naming their Vice Presidential candidates on the last day of the exercise did not do any wrong.

A closer look at Section 33 of the Nigeria Electoral Act 2022 revealed that political parties can really change their candidates if they meet the requirements stipulated for it.

According to Section 33 of the Nigeria Electoral Act 2022: “A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted under Section 29 of this Act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate:
Provided that in the case of such withdrawal or death of a candidate, the political party affected shall, within 14 days of the occurrence of the event, hold a fresh primary election to produce and submit a fresh candidate to the Commission for the election concerned.

Also, Section 31 of Nigeria Electoral Act 2022 which talked about the withdrawal of any candidate after nomination stated unequivocally how a candidate can withdraw from the race after he or she has been nominated.

The Section says:
“A candidate may withdraw his or her candidature by notice in writing signed by him and delivered personally by the candidate to the political party that nominated him for the election and the political party shall convey such withdrawal to the Commission not later than 90 days to the election.

In the same vein, Section 32 of Nigeria Electoral Act 2022 as it concerns
Publication of nomination has give the timeline when the “Placeholder” issues will be resolved.

This section of Nigeria Electoral Act 2022 stateed:

“(1) The Commission shall, at least 150 days before the day of the election, publish by displaying or causing to be displayed at the relevant office or offices of the Commission and on the Commission’s web site, a statement of the full names and addresses of all candidates standing nominated”.

“(2) Any registered political party that observes that the name of its candidate is missing on the list published in accordance with subsection (1) shall notify the Commission in writing, signed by its National Chairman and Secretary, supported with an affidavit not later than 90 days to the election”.

“(3) Failure of the political party to notify the Commission in accordance with subsection (2) shall not be a ground to invalidate the election Section 33”.

In view of the stand of the relevant sections of Nigeria Electoral Act 2022, neither the APC nor LP has violated the New Electoral Act which will be used by INEC to conduct the General Elections.

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