- The independent electoral commission has finally given its submission over the controversial case of Ahmad Lawan and Bashir Machina for the Yobe North senatorial seat
- INEC said it only recognises the candidacy of the senate president, Ahamad Lawan who in the first instance did not participate in the APC senatorial primary polls
- According to the electoral, it does not have the power to reject a candidate as it is statutorily backed by law for INEC to work with the list submitted by the party
In what has become one of the most controversial electoral mixes in a build-up to the 2023 general election, Nigeria’s electoral has broken its silence on the alleged discriminatory stance against the candidates nominated by some political parties for the 2023 general elections, Premium Times reported.
Just before the closure of the submission of candidates list by political parties, the case of the APC primary poll for Yobe North senatorial seat was a centre of discussion involving incumbent Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Bashir Machina the supposed winner of the APC senatorial primary polls.
The antecedent of Lawan, Machina feud
Legit.ng recall that Lawan entered the presidential race alongside the like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi, and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who eventually became the bannerman of the party.
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However, Lawan's eligibility to contest in the 2023 general election lies solely on Bashir Machina stepping down and giving his mantle to the senate president who did not contest in the senatorial primaries due to his involvement in the presidential primaries of the APC.
Meanwhile there is a lot of pressure from Lawan’s camp urging Machina to step down for Lawan who is on a 23 consecutive year run in the legislative assembly.
'APC just disgraced itself', lawyer fumes over removal of Machina's name for Senate president Ahmad Lawan
Sequel to this, a report by Legit.ng confirmed that APC leadership has submitted its list of senatorial candidates to the INEC with the name of Bashir Sherrif Machina missing, enlisting Senate President Ahmad Lawan who did not take part in the last Yobe North senatorial primary, a strange act by the APC that many described as a sort of power-play which does speak well of its reputation.
INEC finally responds
Reacting to the whole situation, INEC said it has no power to reject the names of candidates sent by political parties.
INEC Commissioner, Mohammed Haruna, made this claim stating that the parties have the rights to hold primaries while INEC is empowered to monitor them to ensure full compliance with the rules and regulations of the land and party.
“INEC has no powers to reject names sent by political parties. Primaries are the sole prerogatives of parties. INEC’s responsibility is merely to monitor the primaries and make sure they abide by their own regulations, the Electoral Act & the Constitution.
Lawan: Serious war ensues in APC as Machina kicks over removal of his name from Senatorial candidates' list
“Our power in that regard rests on the fact that our reports are admissible as evidence whenever an aggrieved candidate petitions his party or the courts. It is therefore up to an aggrieved candidate to apply for the Certified True Copy (CTC) of our reports for presentation as evidence that his party did not abide by any or all of the three sets of regulations I mentioned,” the national commissioner noted.”
Meanwhile, Haruna disclosed that the electoral body only accepts names in accordance with the statutory provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act.
He made reference to Section 29 (1) of the electoral act as the part of the law that vindicates INEC.
It states that the lists of the candidates the party proposed to sponsor at the election “must have emerged from valid primaries conducted by the political party.”
Lawyer fumes over removal of Machina's name for senate president Ahmad Lawan
2023: Top-level power play as APC reportedly removes Machina's name, enlists Lawan among senatorial candidates
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been berated for substituting the name of Bashir Machina who won the Yobe North senatorial district primary with Ahmad Lawan's name.
A lawyer Pelumi Olajengbesi said that such action shows that the ruling party has no respect for constitutional democracy.
Olajengbesi also called on Machina to ensure he seeks redress in the court of law with the hope of reclaiming his mandate from the party and Lawan.