The Supreme Court has affirmed the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as the senatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for Yobe North in the coming general elections ahead of his counterpart Bashir Machina. The Supreme Court in a split judgment three to two announced Ahmad Lawan, who is also the current senator representing the
The Supreme Court has affirmed the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as the senatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for Yobe North in the coming general elections ahead of his counterpart Bashir Machina.
The Supreme Court in a split judgment three to two announced Ahmad Lawan, who is also the current senator representing the senatorial district as the right candidate, having set aside the verdict of the appeal court in the case filed by the APC, calling the removal of Machina as its candidate.
Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Centus Nweze said in his verdict that the suit commenced on a wrong note at the Federal High Court, Damaturu because the case commenced via originating summons and there was no oral evidence to prove fraud allegation.
“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.
“There was a need to call witnesses to prove allegations of fraud”, Nweze said as he ordered the electoral commission to
However, in the dissenting judgment passed by Adamu Jauro and Emmanuel Agim, they opposed the lead verdict stating that the case was commenced appropriately. He noted that the use of originating summons without the provision of oral evidence was not out of place as the lower courts have affirmed.
“I affirm the brilliant judgment of the appellate court as to the appropriateness of the use of originating summons,” Agim said.
Justice Agim further noted that the failure of the APC to inform the electoral commission of its primary 21 days before the conduct of the primaries.
The Judge further expatiated that the relevant facts presented at the courts submitted that the Senate President had dropped his bid for Senate to contest for the presidency, and as a result of that, he failed to participate in the first primary which brought in Machina as the unopposed candidate.
He added that the All Progressives Congress also failed to give the electoral commission the mandatory 21 days notice before moving ahead to conduct another primary election on June 9th, 2022, which was not monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commision.
In his conclusion, Judge Agim also added that the ruling party did not cancel the May 28 election which was the background of the victory claim by Mr Bashir Machina
In 2022, the Senate President Ahmed Lawan had contested as a presidential aspirant in primary elections of the All Progressives Congress (APC). With the hope that he was winning the election, he failed to participate in the contest for the Yobe North senatorial seat, the position he has been occupying since 2007.
Meanwhile, one Bashir Machina vied for the vacant senatorial position which he triumphed unchallenged in the party’s Senate primary held in May 2022.
However, after his unsuccessful contest for presidency, Senator Lawan, not wanting to lose the two positions, was reported to have participated in another primary election held by the APC in June, in which he was declared winner and his name was submitted to the electoral committee.
Having refused to yield to several persuasions to step down for the president, Bashir Machina took to the High court in Damaturu to claim his mandate, and he won. Although the senate President initially conceded defeat as stated by the court, he further took the case to the appellate court where the same verdict was passed.
But, with the recent judgment passed by the apex court, it is apparent that the senate president will be the face of the All Progressives Congress party for Yobe senatorial district in the coming elections .
Lawan in his reaction to the judgment by the apex court commended the judiciary stating that his victory was a reflection of a working democracy. He further noted that it was the party that went too court to seek redress, saying that the party is commended for their fight for democracy
He said “Let me start by thanking God for his blessing and of course for what had happened today in the Supreme Court, the judgment on Yobe North particularly is a victory for APC in Yobe and generally APC across the country.
“What happened was democracy at work and the courts gave their various judgments and of course, the Supreme Court gave the final judgment. I want to at this point commend the Supreme Court and of course the judiciary generally for making this kind of judgment to strengthen our democracy because it is not only for politicians to work and strengthen democracy. All 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 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 pushed for an appeal at the Supreme Court on this matter”, he said.
Following the verdict of the supreme court, there have been diverse reactions from Nigerians about the decision of the apex court. many have expressed both their satisfactions, while some have indicated that the judgment might be a threat to the coming elections
Yomi Ajiboye, a Twitter user tweeted that the judgment was made to favour the highest bidder and it poses a threat to Nigeria’s justice system.
“All manners of judgements including, the ones that cannot stand the scrutiny of a layman like you & me are delivered to the advantage of the highest bidder. I weep for our Judiciary system. We’re finished, the same man is the Senate Leader. Can he fight or talk about injustice?”, he tweeted.
@ Sunnese also reacted “I just can’t pretend to be surprised at this verdict by the court, he intensified his rubber stamp duty after he lost the presidential race and also fought against the new naira policy when a presidential candidate lamented about it just to prove loyalty. Read the handwriting”.