The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Friday reacted to a suit seeking to disqualify the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu and his Labour Party, LP, counterpart, Peter Obi, from participating in the 2023 election.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had dragged INEC to court and sought an injunction stopping Tinubu and Obi from selecting Kashim Shettima and Datti Baba-Ahmed as their running mates.
In the suit, PDP urged the court to rule that Tinubu and Obi should be disqualified if they fail to run with their initial running mates, Kabiru Masari and Doyin Okupe.
INEC’s Commissioner for confirmation and Education, Festus Okoye, said only the court would decide Tinubu and Obi’s disqualification from the 2023 presidential election.
Speaking on Arise TV on Friday, Okoye said INEC has not been served with the court processes.
He said; “So, I am not aware of whether we’ve been served with any document relating to any suit of the complexion that you have talked about. But let me just say that if a matter is in court, the matter is sub-judice and we are not supposed to comment on it. Secondly, when political parties submitted the names of their presidential candidates and their vice-presidential candidates, there was no provision for a placeholder in the forms they submitted.
“They submitted the forms for their presidential candidates and they submitted the forms for the vice-presidential candidates and that is the situation.
However, if you look at section 33 of the Electoral 22, it says that a political party shall not be allowed to substitute or change its candidate whose name has been submitted under section 29 of the Electoral Act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate. But it goes ahead to say that provided that in the case of such a withdrawal or death of the candidate, the political parties affected shall within the occurrence of the event hold a fresh primary election to produce and submit a fresh candidate to the commission for the election concerned.”
Initially, Tinubu had submitted Masari’s name to INEC as a placeholder ahead of the deadline for submission of running mates.
Also, Obi submitted the name of Okupe as his placeholder.
However, Tinubu and Obi substituted the initial names with Kashim Shettima and Baba-Ahmed respectively.
(Our heritage reporter)