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In the aftermath of the death of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Abia state, Prof. Uchenna Ikonne on Wednesday, the party has 14 days within which to conduct a fresh primary election to nominate a replacement.
This is according to Section 33 of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) which states that; ‘A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted under Section 29 of this act except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate’.
In the case of withdrawal which is unrelated to the instant case, Section 31 of the Act states that a candidate can only withdraw his or her candidature by notice in writing submitted to the political party that nominated him and such must be conveyed to the political party not later than 90 days to election.
However, if the candidate dies when polls have commenced, Section 34(3)(b) of the Act provides that the running mate shall continue with the election and nominate a new running mate.
In the case of the PDP in Abia state where elections have not commenced, the party would be deemed to have forfeited its candidacy if it fails to conduct fresh primaries and nominate a replacement within 14 days of the death of Mr Ikonne.