2023 election: Court seals Lawan’s fate, declares Machina  APC candidate for Yobe North


By Moses Adeniyi

After much fight to clinch the ticket to run again as the All Progressives Congress’, (APC’s) senatorial candidate for Yobe North in the forthcoming 2023 National Assembly elections, the fate of Nigeria’s President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, seems to have been shattered as the Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, Yobe State Capital, on Wednesday declared Bashir Sheriff Machina as the APC’s authentic senatorial candidate for Yobe North.

The verdict delivered by the presiding judge, Justice Fadima Aminu, further directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt and publish his name accordingly.

Recall that no candidate was included in INEC’s list of candidates for National Assembly and Presidential elections list released on 20th September, 2022.

In her verdict on Wednesday, the Judge affirmed Machina as the duly and validly elected Yobe North senatorial candidate for APC, thereby upholding the May 28 primary election of the Party that produced him.

She thus ordered the APC and the INEC to recognise Bashir Machina as Yobe North senatorial candidate of the party.

The judge nullified the parallel primary election that produced the Senate President on June 9, 2022, ordering the APC to forward the name of Machina to INEC as the authentic winner of the primary held in May.

“In the final analysis, the conditions for the validity of primary elections were fulfilled in the election of May 28, 2022, which produced the plaintiff. The phantom election of June 9 2022 which produced the second defendant is hereby declared invalid in view of the outline provision of the law of the very primary election.

“Consequently, the plaintiff has hereby declared the validly elected candidate of the first defendant of the Yobe North senatorial candidate of the first defendant conducted on 28/05/2022 for the 2023 general election.

“The first defendant is hereby ordered to prepare the name and details of the plaintiff to the third defendant as its rightful candidate. This is my decision,” the Judge ruled.

The judgement was coming weeks after Machina distanced himself from a notice of withdrawal from the race which went gone viral.

A copy of the notice had showed a letter allegedly written by Machina addressed to the party’s National Chairman stating his withdrawal from the Yobe North senatorial race.

Both Lawan and Akpabio had contested the APC Presidential primaries. However, after losing, both of them were listed as senatorial candidates by the APC, but INEC refused to recognise them.

Lawan, Akpabio, and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, who all aspired to clinch ticket to run for presidency contest under the APC had chosen to pick Senate tickets for Yobe North, Ebonyi South and Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial Districts respectively, after losing out at the presidential primaries of the APC.

Following the controversy, INEC in August had denied recognising Lawan and Senator Godswill Akpabio as senatorial candidates of the APC respectively.

Surprises had trailed the senatorial candidates list released by INEC as the name of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, was missing in the circular.

The development had given indication that the Senate President may have finally lost out in his bid to return to the red chamber, following the omission of his name from the final list of candidates for the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

Recall that Lawan had preferred contesting to clinch the APC presidential ticket to run as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, but lost at the primary, coming fourth.

However, while Lawan lost it on the list, Godswill Akpabio, another APC Presidential Aspirant made the list as the party’s candidate for Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District.

Lawan’s predicament may not be unconnected with his failed attempt to clinch on the presidential ticket as the flagbearer for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Having lost the primary, his move to clinch again the senatorial ticket for Yobe North had ensued into battle with Bashir Machina, an unsuccessful fight which appears to have cost the APC with no candidate for the Yobe North senatorial district.

Unlike Lawan, Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa-Ibom who also had aspired for the APC presidential ticket, had through a court order, secured his party’s ticket to contest for the Akwa-Ibom North-West senatorial district in next year’s polls.

INEC documents had earlier showed that Machina was duly nominated as the candidate of APC for Yobe North senatorial district which is being claimed by Lawan.

In a certified true copy (CTC) of the report of INEC officials that monitored the primary election, signed by Omale Samuel, dated May 28, 2022, Machina scored 289 votes out of the 300 delegates that participated in the exercise.