Nigerian lawyer and Human right activist, Femi Falana has said that the presidential candidates that have submitted their running mates as ‘placeholders’ cannot field other names.
According to Naija News reports, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential flagbearer, Bola Tinubu, submitted the name of Kabiru Masari as a placeholder pending when a substantive vice presidential candidate will be unveiled.
Tinubu, however, affirmed that he had chosen Masari his substantive running mate ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Also, the Labour Party presidential flagbearer, Peter Obi, chose former presidential aide, Doyin Okupe as a placeholder and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) presidential flagbearer, Rabiu Kwankwaso chose Ladipo Johnson as his interim running mate.
Speaking with The Guardian on Wednesday, Falana stated that there is no place in the electoral law for a placeholder or interim running mate.
The senior lawyer asserted that the suggestion that a vice presidential candidate can be substituted at will is erroneous and misleading.
He said: “There is nothing like a placeholder in our laws. They have submitted names and that is it. All they can say is that those people may withdraw later, but there is no provision for placeholders in our laws.
“The constitution recognises the fact that when you are submitting the name of your running mate, there is no primary for it. There is no primary for the office of the vice president or the deputy governor.
“So, the person nominated by the presidential candidate can withdraw at any time. Even a presidential candidate himself can withdraw. There is no fixation on it. Some of the things being said by some lawyers are rubbish.”
Meanwhile, the INEC Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, in an interview on Arise TV on Monday, said the law does not support an idea of a placeholder.
Okoye had stated that for there to be a substitution, the vice-presidential candidate must write to INEC, with an affidavit stating that he is withdrawing from the race within the time frame provided by the law.