The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed how political parties can substitute their governorship candidates ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The update released by the electoral body disclosed that substitutions can only take place if the candidate voluntarily withdraws from the race.
Should this happen, INEC in a statement released by its National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye stated that candidates can only withdraw by writing and personally delivering such notice to the political party that nominated them for the election.
The party would then process it with the full involvement of INEC and nominate a new candidate.
Apart from this, the only other conditions that would allow substitution is the death of a validly nominated candidate or a court order.
Naija News reports the electoral umpire made this known when it released the final list of candidates for state (governorship and houses of assembly) elections.
The statement reads: “Thereafter, political parties will substitute such candidates under Section 31 of the Electoral Act for which the last day was 12th August 2022 for state elections as clearly provided in Item 6 of the Commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities. Thereafter, no withdrawal or substitution of candidates is allowed except in the event of death as provided in Section 34(1) of the Electoral Act or pursuant to an order of a court of competent jurisdiction”.
He added: “Pursuant to Section 32(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 and item 8 of the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election, the Commission today 4th October 2022 published the final list of candidates for state elections (governorship and state assembly constituencies).
“The publication of the full names of candidates standing nominated for state elections follows the political parties’ conduct of primaries and completion of the nomination exercise. It will be recalled that at the end of the process, political parties that conducted valid primaries uploaded the list and personal particulars of all nominated candidates to the Commission’s candidate’s nomination portal and the subsequent display in their constituencies nationwide as provided by Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act.
“Subsequently, validly nominated candidates had the opportunity to voluntarily withdraw their candidature by notice in writing and personally delivered such notice to the political party that nominated them for the election. Thereafter, political parties substituted such candidates under section 31 of the Electoral Act for which the last day was 12th August 2022 for State Elections as clearly provided in item 6 of the Commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities.
“ Thereafter, no withdrawal or substitution of candidates is allowed except in the event of death as provided in section 34(1) of the Electoral Act or pursuant to an order of a Court of competent jurisdiction”.
Breakdown Of Contestants For State Elections
The INEC statement shows that 18 political parties fielded 837 candidates and their running mates for the 28 Governorship elections.
Similarly, 10,231 candidates will slug it out for 993 State Assembly seats.
Any grievances or observations can be channelled to INEC in a letter duly signed by the national chairman and secretary of the affected political party.
The statement noted: “in summary, the 18 political parties have fielded 837 candidates and their running mates for the 28 Governorship elections that fall due in 2023. For State Assembly elections, 10, 231 candidates are vying for 993 State Assembly seats.
“The list for specific constituencies is published in each State where they are located while the comprehensive nationwide 894-page list has been uploaded to the Commission’s website.
“Political parties are required to channel any observations on the list of candidates to the Commission and such must be signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the political party”.