From Agaju Madugba, Katsina
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has described ‘placeholder’ as an illegal contraption by politicians to attempt to subvert the electoral process in Nigeria.
“There is no place in the law where you submit someone’s name and direct INEC to wait until you are ready to replace the person and that’s why INEC does not recognise the word, ‘placeholder’,” the state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Jibril Zarewa, said yesterday, at a media forum.
“You know in Nigeria, people come up with different expressions but what we know is that the law provides opportunity for political parties to change their candidates following prescribed conditions.
“The INEC can close submission of names of candidates for election but the law provides that you can withdraw your candidature if you so desire and you have to write a letter to that effect to your political party.
“The political party takes the letter to INEC and if INEC wishes, will direct the political party to hold another primary. ‘Placeholder’ is not in our law.
“That ‘placeholder’ expression which politicians use in the media is ‘wayo’ because there is no place in the law for a ‘placeholder’.
“The political party has to go through a process of another primary to elect a candidate who will replace the earlier one submitted. We don’t have ‘placeholder’ in the law.
“We have two cases from Dutsi and Mashi in Katsina State for the House of Representatives.”
Zarewa said there were a total of 3,230,230 registered voters for Katsina State as at 2019, noting that the ongoing voter registration exercise was designed to enable persons who have attained the age of 18 years to register as well as for information update, including registered voters who relocated to the area.
He said: “INEC will take all necessary measures, as stipulated in the Electoral Act, to ensure no eligible registered voters are disenfranchised.
“The commission will take the voting process to Internally displaced persons’ camps to give opportunity for displaced persons to vote during the 2023 general election.”