President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has been listed as the candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Yobe North senatorial district for the 2023 elections.
This came even as Bashir Machina who won the APC primary for the district, refused to step down for Lawan, who contested the APC presidential ticket. Shortly before the primary began, he was announced by APC national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, as the consensus candidate of the party.
The consensus decision was rejected by several party stakeholders — including members of the national working committee (NWC) — and Bola Tinubu, former Lagos governor, went on to win the party’s ticket at the primary which was concluded on June 8.
Machina had insisted that he would not withdraw from the senatorial race since he got the votes of delegates in an unopposed election.
“I’m sure he did not plan to go back to the National Assembly. That is why he contested for the presidency and lost. This is democracy. The space is free. A certain period of time was given for people to want to contest. Timetables were set, guidelines were produced by the parties, and eventually elections were held,” he said. In the signed list of candidates seen by TheCable yesterday, Lawan was listed as the party’s candidate for Yobe North.
Similarly, former Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, was also reported to have made the list for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial district even after former deputy inspector general of police, Mr Udom EKpoudom (rtd.), vowed not to relinquish the APC senatorial ticket he won on May 27, 2022 to Akpabio or anyone, no matter the pressure mounted on him. The chairman of the party in the state, Mr Stephen Ntuekpo, citing security infractions in the May 27, 2022 APC primary in the district, had said he was directed to conduct a fresh primary on June 8, 2022. The fresh primary produced Akpabio as the winner, having scored 478 votes out of 512 accredited delegates.
But the APC candidate for Yobe North Senatorial district, Bashir Machina, has threatened to seek legal redress over alleged substitution of his name with that of the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, in the list sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday.
INEC recognised Lawan as the candidate of the APC for the Yobe North Senatorial district after his name name was uploaded on the commission’s server by the governing party alongside other senatorial candidates across the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory.
Lawan who contested the presidential primary of the party and lost to Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not participate in the party’s primary.
But APC had written INEC, informing the electoral body that the Senate president will be its nominee for the Yobe North senatorial seat.
Miffed by the development, Machina who contested the primary in the district and won, last night vowed to go to court to challenge the attempt to steal his mandate.
Briefing journalists in Abuja yesterday, Machina appealed to the APC to correct the omission of his name, saying he would have no option than to seek legal redress if his name remains substituted with that of lawan.
Vowing never to back down on his mandate, Machina said, “In the list sent to INEC, my name was found to be misrepresented. I don’t know whether it was erroneous, my name was not in the list of the names that was said to be presented today to INEC. For the avoidance of doubt, I remain the candidate duly elected of the APC Yobe North zone C senatorial zone.
“I am the elected candidate; I did not withdraw for anybody and will not withdraw because as a matter of right that is the mandate given to me by members of our great party, the delegates. So surreptitiously removing my name, I consider, is very undemocratic, illegal and of course inhuman.
“Insha Allah, I will take measures, first by reminding and appealing to my party that if this action is truly done, it should be corrected, especially if it is erroneously done. We are actually seeking for redress from the National Working Committee of our party under the able leadership of Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the national chairman, that there is an anomaly and we need it to be corrected.
“I remain the candidate and it remains so. I hope our leadership will take the necessary measures. We will work hard to exploit and explore all the necessary channels as provided by our guideline. In the event of the contrary, as Nigerian citizens and as law abiding citizens, the constitution of our country being the overall law above every aspect of our lives as Nigerians, I would have no choice but to resort to court (legal) action.
“This is what I intend to inform Nigerians through this medium, that an abnormality and illegality is about taking place, and it is undemocratic. This is a democratic party. It is always the will of the people that is supreme and the greatest justification of the will of the people is by casting their votes, as they did to elect me. This is a confidence reposed on me by the electorate in my senatorial district and this is the most minimal challenge I will face to defend their right.”