The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Wednesday, said three political parties substituted their candidates earlier nominated for Edo governorship election, scheduled for Sept. 19.Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
According to Okoye, the Action Alliance (AA), Labour Party (LP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) were the three parties that met the July 13 deadline for withdrawal and substitution of candidates for the state election.He disclosed that the AA substituted its governorship candidate, Obhafuoso Paul with Edemakhiota Osaimiamia; while LP replaced Omobayo Marvellous with Omogbelehan Pauline as its deputy governorship candidate for the election.He further disclosed that ADC substituted its earlier nominated governorship candidate, Akhigbe Ehiabhi with Mabel Oboh; as well as nominated Reuben Edokpayi as the party current deputy governorship candidate.
Okoye noted that Section 35 of the Electoral Act provides that a candidate may withdraw his candidature by notice in writing signed by him and delivered by himself to the political party that nominated him for the election.He noted that the section also stipulated that the political party shall convey such withdrawal to the Commission not later than 45 days to the election.“At the close of the period for withdrawals and replacement, three political parties carried out withdrawals and substitutions.
“The withdrawal and substitution of candidates were done by the political parties and communicated to the Commission.“The letter of withdrawal by candidates is routed through their respective political parties and the Commission is not permitted to lift the veil to investigate whether the letter of withdrawal by any of the candidates is genuine or not.“The commission receives and acts on the communication from the chairmen and secretaries of political parties and does not receive, entertain or act on letters and communication from aspirants or candidates relating to nominations, withdrawals and substitutions.
“Any issue or challenge or problem with the genuineness or otherwise of withdrawals and substitutions are within the domestic realm of political parties and the Commission has no role to play in its resolution,” Okoye said.NAN recalls that INEC released the timetable and schedule of activities for the Edo Governorship election on Feb. 6.According to the timetable and schedule of activities, July 13 was given as the last day for withdrawal by candidate(s), and possible replacement of withdrawn candidates by political parties in accordance with section 35 of the Electoral Act.