The supreme court has affirmed Senate President Ahmad Lawan as the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Yobe north.
In a majority judgment delivered on Monday, the apex court allowed the appeal filed by the APC against Bashir Machina’s candidature.
Delivering the judgment, three out of a five-member panel agreed with the position of the APC that the suit at the trial court ought not to have commenced via an originating summons since it contained allegations of fraud.
“The bedrock of the suit shows that there were allegations of fraudulent practices against the appellants,” Centus Nweze said.
“That the 1st respondent accused the APC of fraudulently substituting his name with that of Lawan.
“Where there is an allegation of fraud it should not be commenced by an originating summons.
“There was a need to call witnesses to prove allegations of fraud.”
However, Adamu Jauro and Emmanuel Agim, two judges of the supreme court, affirmed the judgment of the court of appeal.
“I affirm the brilliant judgment of the appellate court as to the appropriateness of the use of originating summons,” Agim said.
Agim said relevant facts showed the withdrawal of the senate president from the senatorial race to pursue his presidential bid.
He said facts also showed that Machina won the senatorial primary, adding that the APC did not give INEC 21 days mandatory notice before going ahead to conduct another primary election on June 9.
He said the party did not cancel the May 28 election before going ahead to conduct another primary election.
The justice also noted that INEC was absent and did not monitor the June 9 election.
“The appellant has not contradicted that findings of fact are perverse or unreasonable,” Agim said.
“The failure to challenge the findings of facts defeats the entire appeal.”
THE YOBE NORTH CONTROVERSY
Machina won unopposed during the senatorial primary organised by the party in May 2022.
But the senate president was said to have participated in another primary organised by the APC after he contested the presidential ticket unsuccessfully in June.
Machina was reportedly asked to step down for Lawan but he insisted that he is the rightful candidate.
Amid the controversy, the APC submitted the senate president’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the candidate for Yobe north.
The electoral commission subsequently refused to list any candidate for the district.
Aggrieved, Machina instituted a suit asking the court to declare him as the authentic senatorial candidate.
In September 2022, a federal high court in Damaturu, the Yobe capital, ordered the APC and INEC to recognise Machina as the candidate.
A month later, an Abuja court of appeal affirmed Machina’s election as the candidate of the APC for the Yobe north senatorial district.
Still not satisfied, the APC appealed the appellate court’s judgment.
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