The Supreme Court had declared Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Yobe North Senatorial District in the upcoming election.
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The court made the declaration in a judgment delivered on Monday, 6th February 2023, bringing to an end the long-drawn legal battle between Lawan and Bashir Machina.
Three out of the five-member panel of the court led by Justice Centus Nweze, set aside the decisions of the Federal High Court in Yobe and the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
The APC had challenged the judgments of the lower courts which affirmed Bashir Machina as the candidate of Yobe North Senatorial District for the election.
The ruling party prayed the apex court to overrule the two previous verdicts of the lower courts and legitimise APC’s National Working Committee’s forwarding of Mr Lawan’s name to INEC as the candidate for the election.
Justice Nweze in the majority judgment held that Machina should not have commenced the suit at the Federal High Court Damaturu division without a writ of summons given the allegations of fraud levelled against the APC in transmitting Lawan’s name to INEC.
Nweze said: “The bedrock of the suit shows that there were allegations of fraudulent practices against the appellants.
“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.
He added that “There was a need to call witnesses to prove allegations of fraud.”
Two justices in the panel, Emmanuel Agim, and Adamu Jauro, however, disagreed with the majority on the matter and affirmed the judgment of the Appeal Court.
Reading his dissenting view to the majority judgment, Justice Agim said: “I affirm the brilliant judgment of the appellate court as to the appropriateness of the use of originating summons.”
He said that facts on ground proved that Lawan never participated in the APC primary held on 28 May, as he withdrew voluntarily to participate in the presidential primary held on 9 June 2022.
Justice Agim stated that Lawan’s withdrawal from the senatorial District automatically disqualified him from the race.
He further stated that available evidence shows 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 added that INEC was not present to monitor the June 9 election.
Akinshola Akintelure is a Content Writer, a tech savvy and Social Media Manager.