The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said that the candidates for Bayelsa and Kogi gubernatorial elections who were removed from the lists of candidates were not validly nominated by their political parties.
The Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee at INEC, Mr Festus Okoye, stated this during a “Youth Campus” sensitisation programme organised by the Commission at the Niger-Delta University, Amassoma, Bayelsa.
The INEC official was reacting to claims by the candidates that they were disqualified by INEC.
The two-day programme, which started on Wednesday, was designed to enlighten the youths on the need to participate in electoral processes without causing disorder.
Okoye, also a National Commissioner, blamed the political parties for presenting candidates that did not meet the minimum requirements as spelt out by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
He said: “No qualified candidate was disqualified, so, since some of the political parties did not submit valid nominations, the Commission decided not to put them on the ballot.
“In this process, the political parties cannot ask for substitution of candidates as their nominations are invalid in the first place.
“It is expected that any political party that wants to sponsor candidates for elections must know the provisions of the Constitution.
“For you to submit candidates, you must know the basics according to Section 172 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“So, it is on the basis of the provisions of the Constitution that some political parties presented candidates that did not meet the minimum threshold for contesting for the election.
“We say that their nominations were invalid and because of the invalidity of their nominations, we say that they will not be on the ballot.
“I must tell you that the commission did not disqualify any candidate and any candidate that submitted an invalid nomination, it is deemed that no nomination was submitted.
“And so if you did not submit any valid nomination, you cannot ask for substitution because you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand.” (NAN).