Justice Centus Nweze, who read the lead judgement, held that Machina ought to have commenced his suit by a writ of summons going by the allegations of fraud levelled against the APC in transmitting Lawan’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Minority decision held that the conduct of another primary where Lawan emerged, was in breach of Section 84 (5) of the Electoral Act
The Supreme Court on Monday affirmed the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) Candidate for the Yobe North Senatorial election.
In the lead judgement, Justice Centus Nweze faulted the approach of Bashir Machina in commencing the suit at the Federal High Court Damaturu Division by way of originating summons and without oral evidence to prove allegations of fraud.
In the majority decision, the apex court also set aside the decision of the Appeal Court, Gombe Division, which affirmed the decision of the trial court that declared Machina as the Senatorial Candidate for Yobe North District. But in a dissenting decision by Justices Emmanuel Agim and Adamu Jauro, the Supreme Court said Ahmad Lawan never participated in the APC primary held on 28th May. They noted that he withdrew voluntarily to participate in the presidential primary held on 8th June 2022.
The minority decision held that the conduct of another primary on June 9, 2022, where Lawan emerged, was in breach of Section 84 (5) of the Electoral Act as the APC never cancelled that held on 28th May before organizing another.
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“Actually, as an individual, I didn’t go to the Supreme Court to seek for a redress but my party did, and my people of Yobe North and Yobe State generally and many political associates and well wishers across the country and beyond that there had to be an appeal at the Supreme Court on this matter.
– Ahmad Lawan
The APC had challenged the nomination of Bashir Machina as the party’s candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District, insisting that Ahmad Lawan, Nigeria’s Senate President, was its authentic candidate for the seat.
At the last hearing of the appeal, Counsel for the party, Sepiribo Peters, argued that the primary election held on 28th May last year, which produced Machina, was in breach of the Electoral Act 2022. He contended that one Danjuma Manga, who conducted the said primary election, was not nominated by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
Peters told the Court that the APC cancelled the primary poll on account of the irregularities observed during the exercise and argued that the other primary held on 9th June was conducted by the APC NWC and produced Lawan as the party’s authentic candidate.
However, Machina’s lawyer, Sarafa Yusuf, prayed the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit on the ground that the Senate President did not challenge the suits at both the trial and lower courts.
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Justice Centus Nweze, who read the lead judgement, held that the decisions of the Federal High Court in Yobe and the Court of Appeal in Abuja were perverse and must be set aside. He added that Machina ought to have commenced his suit by a writ of summons going by the allegations of fraud levelled against the APC in transmitting Lawan’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the lead dissenting judgement, Justice Adamu Jauro held that the APC “appeal is devoid of merit.” He slammed a three million naira fine against the party in favour of Mr Machina.
For Justice Emmanuel Agim, while reading his dissenting view, he described the APC Primary election held on 9th June, which produced Mr Lawan as an illegal contraption.
He noted that Lawan’s withdrawal from the Yobe North Senatorial District race on 12th May to vie for the APC presidential ticket automatically disqualified the Senate President from the National Assembly election. Agim further adds the purported primary election held on 9th June 2022 was a ruse as INEC did not monitor it.
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Speaking to Senate Correspondents after the judgment, Lawan described the judgment as democracy at work, stressing that the courts gave their various judgements while the Supreme Court gave the final judgement. He commended the Supreme Court and, of course, the judiciary generally for making the judgement to strengthen democracy.
According to him, it is not only for politicians to work and strengthen democracy, but all and sundry to play their roles. He also commended the Senate Press Corps for giving out, for the last four years, authentic and valid information to the public on what they do, adding that the Ninth Senate has been a productive Senate. He affirmed his recommitment to ensuring that the leadership of the Senate would continue to lead very well and appreciative.
“What happened was democracy at work, and the courts gave their various judgements, and of course, the Supreme Court gave the final judgement. I want to, at this point, commend the Supreme Court and, of course, the judiciary generally for making this kind of judgement to strengthen our democracy because it is not only for politicians to work and strengthen democracy it is all of us and all the institutions have their roles to play. So I commend them.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the All Progressives Congress, our party, for taking this matter to the Supreme Court. Actually, as an individual, I didn’t go to the Supreme Court to seek for a redress, but my party did, and my people of Yobe North and Yobe State generally, and many political associates and well-wishers across the country and beyond that, there had to be an appeal at the Supreme Court on this matter. So today, it is a victory for all of us involved.
I am the symbol, but the victory is for our party, the APC and for democracy,” he said.