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PDP Must Conduct Another Fresh Primary In Abia Within 14 Days or Jeopardize Her Chances – Frank Tietie.

Late Uche Ikonne.

The death today of a former Vice Chancellor of Abia State University (ABSU) Uturu  and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP's Governorship candidate, Professor Uchenna Ikonne is generating series of reactions from political watchers, including frontline constitutional lawyer, Frank Tietie.

His concern is based on what the next line of action should be in a matter of this nature and as the matter can be subjected to opinions. Citing Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended, Tietie said the law is clear in a case where a candidate passes prior to an election and specifically, concerning Uchenna Ikonne, the Abia governorship candidate for the 2023 general election who died after a brief illness.

With the 2023 general election less than five weeks away, the death of the academician-turned-politician has raised many questions regarding the fate of the PDP in the state and the party's next line of action with the polls fast approaching.

Many Nigerians of different walks of life have had their opinions on what is expected of the party, however, the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended has taken into consideration the actions a party is expected to take should such instances occur.

Speaking on the incident, a human rights & development lawyer, Frank Tietie, said the Electoral Act is clear in the case of such an incident.

Tietie said Ikonne's passing and PDP's next line of action is not a matter that can be subjected to opinions.

Citing Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended, Tietie said the law is clear in a case where a candidate passes prior to an election.

His words: "This is not a matter that is subjected to opinions or preferences because the law is clear when the facts are that a candidate, not an aspirant has died. That is a candidate whose name has already been submitted to INEC.

"In that case, only a fresh primary election conducted within 14 days of the death of the candidate would solve the problem. "It cannot be negotiated, there is no easy way out, the only way out is to stick to the provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act

Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended 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: "Provided that in case of such withdrawal or death of a candidate, the party affected shall, within 14 days of the occurrence of the event, hold a fresh primary election and submit a fresh candidate to the commission for the election concerned

Implications of not conducting a primary election Contrary to reports and claims that Ikonne's running mate or the aspirant who came second during the primary election can replace him, Tietie said plying such a route would mean double jeopardy for the PDP.

"A fresh primary election must be conducted and not necessary that he can be replace with the person that came second or third or the person he has already picked as running mate can substitute him as a governorship candidate for the party.

"Unless the PDP wants to jeopardise its chances having lost its candidate and then taking a route that is illegal and could virtually lead to barrage of internal crisis and legal challenges afterwards."



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