Abia 2023: Legal Implication Of PDP Candidate’S Death

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By Festus Ogun

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State, Professor Eleazor Uche Ikonne is dead. The unfortunate demise of Prof. Ikonne has far-reaching legal implications on the candidacy of the PDP in Abia State.

By virtue of Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022 upon the death of a candidate, a political party shall within 14 days of the occurrence of death hold a fresh primary election and shall produce a fresh candidate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The implication is that the PDP shall, upon notifying INEC and within 14 days, conduct a fresh gubernatorial primary in Abia State in accordance with its Constitution and the Electoral Act wherein a new Gubernatorial Candidate will emerge.

The Deputy Governorship candidate’s nomination terminates with the death of Prof. Ikonne. It is, therefore, not the law that the Abia Deputy Governorship Candidate shall automatically be nominated as the Governorship candidate of the party.

Section 187 of the 1999 Constitution provides that a Governorship Candidate can only be deemed to be validly nominated if he actually nominates a Deputy. Further, a Deputy Governorship Candidate can only be deemed elected if the Governor that actually nominated him wins the election.

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Thus, for there to be a valid nomination, the PDP must conduct a fresh primary to produce a Governorship Candidate and the said candidate shall freshly nominate his (own) deputy, who may be Prof. Ikonne’s deputy or any other person.

That said, by Section 34 of the Electoral Act, 2022, INEC has a duty to reschedule the date earlier fixed for the conduct of Governorship Polls in Abia State within 14 days, in light of these developments.

My condolences to the family of the deceased, Abia PDP and the good people of Abia State. May the wishes of good people prevail in Abia.

God bless Nigeria.

Festus Ogun is a Constitutional Lawyer and Principal Counsel at FOLEGAL. Contact him via festusogunlaw@gmail.com 09066324982

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