Kayode Ajulo: Running mate ‘placeholder’ has right of withdrawal

ajulo kayode

Abuja based lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, has said that anyone nominated as a running mate in placeholder capacity, has the right of withdrawal.

In a statement by the legal practitioner on Sunday, he dismissed a write up where the writer maintained that a running mate has no right of withdrawal in the extant electoral law.

The statement read, “My attention has been drawn to a statement wherein it is maintained that a running mate has no right of withdrawal in our extant Electoral law.

This is purely erroneous, and a fallacy that cannot stand and not supported by any provisions of our law and practice.

Apparently the unknown writer of the statement under review utterly and shamelessly turns the law on its head.

Verily, the statement, it must be cautioned, is targeted towards a premeditated end.

The law on the nomination and withdrawal of a nominee and candidate in an election is clear and without ambiguity.

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Once a running mate is nominated he/she becomes a candidate of a joint ticket and as a candidate in an election, the law permits such a candidate to withdraw his candidature within a specified time.

For clarity, here’s what the extant law says;

Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2022 states thus;

“A candidate may withdraw his candidature by notice in writing signed by the candidate to the political party that nominated him for such election and the political party shall covey such withdrawal to the Commission not later than 90 days to the election.”

The above provision also applies to the so called placeholder.

A placeholder in the political context under consideration is any person temporarily nominated to fill a position, with the understanding that he/she will not seek the office nominated for in their own right pending when a substantive nominee is presented as a substitute. It is primarily done to meet a deadline.

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It is allowed in party politics and guides administrative process.

However, the rates and manners in which some political parties submitted names of some candidates in the name of “placeholder” without vetting and ensuring due diligence call for concern as in the long run, some indiscernible parties would have themselves to blame as ineligible placeholder/candidates cannot substitute or bring about eligible candidates.

“You can’t place something on nothing and expect it to stand”

This Lord Denning’s dictum in the celebrated case of Benjamin Leonard MacFoy Vs United Africa Company Ltd at the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty’s Privy Council on Monday, the 27th day of November 1961 is very instructive here.

Need I to say more?”

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