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2023: INEC reaffirms opposition to ‘placeholder’ arrangement, hints at extension of voter’s registration

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insisted that on Friday that the term placeholder has no place in the country’s constitution.

The INEC’s National Electoral Commissioner, and Chairman, information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, stated this in Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today.

The Labour Party had on June 17 picked a former presidential aide, Dr. Doyin Okupe, in a placeholder capacity, as the running mate to its presidential candidate, Peter Obi.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) also listed a Katsinsa-based politician, Kabiru Masari, as its candidate running mate.

However, the party had dismissed reports that Masari’s choice was a stop-gap measure.

The INEC commissioner further revealed that the names submitted by the political parties were not placeholders and any imminent withdrawal has to be through death or voluntary withdrawal of any candidate.

READ ALSO: INEC to publish final list of presidential, National Assembly candidates September 22
He said: “What we have in the forms are the particulars of the candidates and their affidavits. No party stated that they were submitting any name in lieu or as a placeholder but the only way a candidate can go out is via death or personal withdrawal.

“There is a portal with which they uploaded the particulars of their nominated candidate which is why the INEC is not under any legal obligation to publish the name of any candidate that was not uploaded. The commission recognizes only candidates that emerged via party primaries.”

On the voter’s registration exercise and the nationwide clamour for an extension, Okoye said the commission might likely extend the deadline after a court’s hearing on the matter.

The commission will return to court on the voter’s registration on June 29.

A court in Abuja had last week restrained INEC from ending the exercise on June 30.

He added: “The commission is disposed towards an extension of the voter’s registration pending the court date on June 29 and we will make our arguments on why we cannot extend beyond a particular timeframe but due to the enthusiasm of Nigerians, an extension is inevitable.”

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