The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has set June 17, 2022 as the deadline for the nomination of vice-presidential candidates following the completion of the presidential Primaries of the political parties. In other to beat the deadline some parties submitted names of the vice-presidential candidates whom they described as “placeholder”. The concept of the placeholder has no place in the constitution and it’s a unique invention which the law has no provision for.
The Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) 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, political parties who have submitted names of their associate have already complied with the provisions of INEC, for there to be a substitution of a candidate, the vice- presidential candidate must write to INEC with sworn affidavit stating that he is withdrawing from the race within the time frame provided by the law, that is the only way there can be a substitution of a candidate.
While the presidential candidate of the PDP beat the deadline and submitted the name of his running mate, the likes of Labour Party (LP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) are yet to pick their running mate, Thus; with the use of the “Placeholder”, it presupposes that such candidate would be substituted later as they were only put in other to beat the deadline provided by the Electoral Act (EA).
Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2022 allows a candidate to withdraw his nomination in writing and such withdrawal must be communicated to the INEC by the political party not later than 90 days before the election.
In conclusion, the issue of placeholder is a unique Nigerian concept that has no place in our constitutional and legal framework.