Politics: Court: Machina, not Lawan, is Yobe North senatorial candidate Daily Parrot

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were yesterday told to recognise Bashir Machina as the ruling party’s senatorial candidate for Yobe North in the 2023 general election.

The got the order from the Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

On June 22, Machina sought the court’s declaration that he won the Yobe North senatorial primary held on May 28 after realising that the his name had been replaced with that of Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

Counsel to the second defendant (Lawan), Ahmed Raji (SAN), prayed the court to strike out the case for lack of jurisdiction.

The defence lawyer submitted that the case was statute barred, adding that it was filed out of the constitutional 14 days required by law.

He also argued that the primary of May 28, which produced Machina was not validly conducted.

According to him, it was the primary conducted on June 9, which produced Lawan, was the authentic primary.

Raji argued that the APC had given a specific order that the election should be held on June 9, in which his client participated and won.

“The specific notice for the conduct of the primary election on June 9 supersedes the general notice of May 28, 2022,” the lawyer also argued.

But counsel to Machina, Mr. Ibrahim Bawa (SAN), challenged the defendant to produce anyone in INEC or security agent or party member who witnessed the purported primary that produced Lawan as the APC candidate.

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Bawa said: “The issue of the general and the specific notice of the primary election is very funny. The general notice was given by the party that elections would be held on May 28 and it was complied with. INEC monitored it and produced a report.

“If there is a specific notice of another primary on June 9, then they are two different things. The general was complied with and INEC monitored it and produced a report. So, nobody can say there was a general notice and a specific notice, that he is relying on the specific.”

After taking the submissions of the counsel, Justice Fadima Murtala Amina reserved judgment and later fixed September 28.

In a two-hour judgment, Justice Aminu dealt with the preliminary issues, which include the challenge of the jurisdiction of the court on the matter, the objection that the case was statute barred, the locus standi of the plaintiff, and whether or not there was a cause of action by the plaintiff.

After perusing the matter, all the preliminary objections were resolved in favour of the plaintiff.

The judge held that the objections were faulty, misleading and could not rob the court of its function of entertaining the substantive matter.

On the issue of the case being filed out of time, Justice Aminu held that the cause of action in the matter started counting from June 17, 2022 when Machina discovered that the first and second defendants (APC and Lawan) were planning to remove his name, and not the date the primary was conducted.

The judge also held that the plaintiff, having approached the court on June 22, 2022, met the condition of the law and did not violate the 14 days required by the constitution.

“Consequently, the plaintiff is hereby declared the validly elected candidate of the first defendant of the Yobe North senatorial candidate of the first defendant conducted on May 28, 2022 for the 2023 general election.

“The first defendant is hereby ordered to prepare the name and details of the plaintiff to the third defendant as its rightful candidate. This is my decision,”

Counsel to Lawan, Mr. Wale Balogun, told reporters that he would consult with his client before making the next move.

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