Ikonne died at Abuja National Hospital on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, after a brief illness.
However, since his death was announced by his son, Chikezie Uche-Ikonne, and the PDP, there have been concerns about who would replace the deceased as the PDP’s gubernatorial candidate in the upcoming elections.
what the law says
A candidate whose name has been submitted for election cannot be replaced by a political party unless the candidate dies or withdraws from the race.
But in this case, the nominated candidate is deceased and it is necessary for his party to present another candidate for governor before the gubernatorial elections scheduled for March 11, 2023.
So, to address this, the Electoral Law provides for the replacement of a candidate who dies before or during an election.
According to article 33 of the Law, “A political party may not change or replace its candidate whose name has been presented in accordance with article 29 of this Law, except in the case of death or withdrawal of the candidate.”
The section further provided that, in the event of death, the deceased’s political party must hold a primary election within 14 days to produce a new candidate, whose name will subsequently be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The section further says, “Provide that in the event of such withdrawal or death of a candidate, the affected political party shall, within 14 days after the occurrence of the event, hold a new primary election to produce and present a new candidate to the Commission for election in question.”.
Section 34 (1) of the Electoral Law further stipulates that “If after the time of delivery of the nomination papers and before the start of voting, a nominated candidate dies, the Chief National Election Commissioner, having satisfied himself of the fact of death, shall annul the ballot in which the deceased candidate I was going to participate. participate and the Commission will set another convenient date for the election within 14 days.”
The second paragraph of the aforementioned section adds that “the voters list to be used in a postponed election shall be the official voter register that would be used if the election had not been postponed.”
If a candidate dies during an election
Section 34 (2) of the Electoral Law addresses a situation where a candidate dies before the electoral commission announces the final result of the vote.
In this case, the law stipulates that voting would be suspended for 21 days to allow the affected political party to present a new candidate within 14 days.
“If after the start of voting and before the announcement of the final result and the declaration of a winner, a candidate dies: (a) the Commission, being satisfied with the fact of death, shall suspend the election for a period of not more than 21 days; Y
“(b) in the case of an election to a legislative chamber, the election will begin anew and the political party whose candidate died may, if it intends to continue participating in the election, hold a new primary within 14 days after the death of its candidate and present the name of a new candidate to the Commission to replace the dead candidate.”.
However, this does not apply to presidential, gubernatorial, or Federal Capital Territory (FCT) area council elections.
According to the law, if a candidate for the presidential, gubernatorial or area council elections of the FCT dies during an election, “the running mate will proceed with the election and nominate a new running mate.”
Therefore, as required by law, the PDP in Abia state will have to hold a new primary within two weeks to produce another candidate to represent the party in the March 11 Governor and House of Assembly elections.