The former governorship candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party in Delta State, Emmanuel Igbini, has stated that candidates in the forthcoming elections do not have the power to substitute their running mates.
Igbini while backing his view quoted Sections 141, 142, 186 and 187 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, CFRN, as amended.
The rights activist in an interview with Vanguard on Sunday said, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, can not change their running mates.
He, however, noted that only the nominee can voluntarily withdraw from the election latest 90 days before the date for the general election set by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Igbini said, “Let me make it very clear that the presidential candidate of PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, cannot change his vice presidential candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, and All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Alhaji Bola Tinubu cannot also change Alhaji Kabir Masari.”
“I vehemently disagree with my brother and Resident Electoral Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mike Igini and INEC, who now claim that the current presidential and governorship candidates can change the vice-presidential and deputy governorship candidates they nominated, latest July 15, window allowed by INEC.
“I reiterate that the constitutional power to nominate persons as candidates for a general election in Nigeria does not confer the same power to the nominator to withdraw the nominee once officially submitted to INEC.
“Only the nominee can voluntarily withdraw from the election at latest 90 days before the date set by INEC for the 2023 general election or God forbids, the nominee dies before the conclusion of the election.
“Is Mike Igini and INEC now telling Nigerians that the delegates of the political parties who nominated Atiku, Tinubu and other presidential and governorship candidates also now have the constitutional powers to change them before the July 2022 window set by INEC? No, please.
“Sections 143 and 188 of CFRN as amended and sections 31 and 33 are very clear and unambiguous as to the only way vice-presidential and deputy governorship candidates can be removed or changed.”