THE Federal High Court in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, has declared Bashir Machina as the duly-elected candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Yobe North Senatorial District.
The slot for the district’s senatorial candidate of APC had been an issue after the incumbent senate president, Ahmed Lawan, claimed ownership of the ticket despite not participating in the primaries.
Delivering judgment today, the presiding judge, Fadimatu Aminu, directed the APC to submit Machina’s name to the INEC as the rightful winner of the party’s May 28 primary election in the district.
Aminu held that the “phantom June 9 primary election” that produced Lawan as the winner and candidate was a “nullity” because INEC did not observe the primary election.
She also disapproved of the claim that the case was statute bar, saying the cause of action arose on June 17, not May 28, and said Machina, the plaintiff, approached the court when he discovered that the first defendant, APC, had forwarded Lawan’s name to INEC as its candidate.
She, therefore, said the constitutional requirement of filing the case not later than 14 days from the election was not applicable.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the slot vacant.
Machina had insisted he would not step down for Lawan.
On June 22, Machina instituted the case, seeking an order to compel APC to declare him as the candidate of the district and send his name to INEC for publication.
He told the court that he won the May 28 primary election unopposed, declared the winner by INEC and his certificate of return was duly issued to him.
He added that Lawan did not participate in the APC primaries for the senatorial election, but the party leadership presented him as the candidate after he failed in an attempt to clinch the presidential ticket of the party.
He argued that the replacement of his name with Lawan’s was a breach of Section 84(14) of the Electoral Act, 2022, Article 21.3 of the APC Constitution and Paragraphs 20 (c), 27 (c), (d), and (f) of the APC Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the 2023 General Elections.