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Court Sacks Senate President Lawan as Yobe North APC Senatorial Candidate, Orders INEC to List Machina

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By Uche Amunike

A Federal High Court in Damaturu, Yobe state, Wednesday, has given the ruling that Nigeria’s Senate President, Ahmad Lawan is not the Yobe North APC Senatorial candidate in the 2023 National Assembly election.

The court ruled that Bashir Mashina won the legally recognized primary election that was supervised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and therefore, is the authentic candidate of the party.

The court also ruled that because Lawan did not take part in the legally recognized APC primary election that selected its candidate on May 28, he will not be holding an elective office for the first time since 1999 when he was elected a member of the House of Representative for the Bade/Jaksusko Federal Constituency in Yobe State.

The reason why the Senate President was not a part of the authentic APC Yobe North primary election was that he was contesting for the party’s Presidential post. When he failed get the ticket for Presidency in his party, he tried to reclaim the ticket as Yobe North Senatorial APC candidate, a district he has represented since 2007.

Machina filed a suit, asking the court to rule that he was the bonafide candidate of the APC because, even though he won at the May 28 primary election, the APC leadership went ahead to submit Lawan’s name as Yobe North APC Senatorial candidate. He asked the court to order INEC to list him in the final register of candidates for the National Assembly election.

INEC had earlier refused to recognize either Lawan or Machina and awaited the court’s ruling on who was the right candidate until a Staff of INEC filed a motion, countering the position of the commission.

In a document provided to newsmen, the staffer dismissed the election that brought in Machina while claiming that another primary election was held in the district, producing Lawan as winner.

A civil society organization known as Transition Monitoring Group(TMG), however denounced the development and questioned if INEC possessed the credibility to deliver, come 2023.

The electoral umpire was quick in extricating itself from the unnamed staffer, saying that it acted on its own. A statement signed by the Commission’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye said: ‘The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been drawn to a counter affidavit purportedly filed in the Federal High Court, Damaturu Judicial Division relating to the Yobe North Senatorial District primary election.’

‘Notwithstanding the matter in Court and without prejudice to the consideration or likely outcome of the case in court, the Commission reiterates its earlier position that it stands by the report of its monitoring team and it was on the basis of that report that the Commission did not publish the name and personal particulars of any candidate for the Yobe North Senatorial District.’

‘INEC will review its quality assurance protocols, including the preview by appropriate ranking officials of all processes filed on its behalf to ascertain their correctness in all material particulars with all reports and all information at its disposal before their presentation so that a situation like this is not repeated.’

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