COURT RESERVES JUDGEMENT INDEFINITELY IN MACHINA’S SUIT TO COMPEL INEC TO RECOGNISE HIM AS YOBE NORTH APC SENATORIAL CANDIDATE - Mc Ebisco COURT RESERVES JUDGEMENT INDEFINITELY IN MACHINA’S SUIT TO COMPEL INEC TO RECOGNISE HIM AS YOBE NORTH APC SENATORIAL CANDIDATE - Mc Ebisco
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COURT RESERVES JUDGEMENT INDEFINITELY IN MACHINA’S SUIT TO COMPEL INEC TO RECOGNISE HIM AS YOBE NORTH APC SENATORIAL CANDIDATE

COURT RESERVES JUDGEMENT INDEFINITELY IN MACHINA’S SUIT TO COMPEL INEC TO RECOGNISE HIM AS YOBE NORTH APC SENATORIAL CANDIDATE

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan
The judge promises to deliver judgement on the matter on a date to be announced to the parties in the suit.

By Joe Hemba

A Federal High Court in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, on Monday, reserved judgement indefinitely in the candidacy tussle of the ruling All Progressives Congress

(APC) of Yobe North Senatorial district in next year’s National Assembly election.

Bashir Machina, who won the party’s primary election for the district, had approached the court, asking it to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission

(INEC) to uphold his election as the valid winner of the primary conducted on 28/05/2022.

But the leadership of the APC sent the name of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as its candidate for the district to INEC.

Mr Lawan, who had represented the district since 2007, did not participate in the primary. He had unsuccessfully participated in the party’s presidential primary.

After granting all applications and preliminary objections in the adoption of addresses from both parties, the Judge, Fadima Aminu, went straight into the hearing of the substantive matter, which was brought by Mr Machina.

The lead counsel to Machina, Ibrahim Bawa, maintained that his client was nominated following due process and therefore prayed the court to prevail on INEC and the APC to obey the provision of the Electoral Act by declaring his client the winner of the 28/05/2022 senatorial primary elections for the district.

“There were no second primary elections that were held in Yobe as far as we are concerned. Can you tell me where anybody in Yobe saw where a second primary election was held and where the primary was done,” Mr Bawa argued.

“Our prayer is that having won, the Electoral Act stipulates that the person should be declared as the winner which was done and the party has no option but to do so. We are therefore asking the court to compel INEC to comply with the law.

“On the 11th, the party compiled the report and said our candidate was the winner of the election and suddenly documents started coming out to say he was not. All these are put together and left for the court to decipher and decide on the right thing to do,” Mr Bawa argued.

In his counterargument, Ahmed Raj, the counsel of Mr Lawan, said the senate president, based on section 115 of the Electoral Act did was not disqualified to participate in another election even after he had lost out at the presidential primaries.

According to him, the provisions of section 115 only prohibit a candidate from going into another election “at the same time” in which case he noted did not apply to Mr Lawan because he never emerged as a presidential candidate.

He also called on the judge to strike out the case because it was filed “out of time”.

“This case was heard on merit, the objections were taken and essentially, our objection is to the fact that the matter is statute-barred because it was not filled within 14 days stipulated by the constitution.

“We also debunked the argument where they were alleging that the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, was a candidate in one primary before coming to this one to be a candidate and we say never. He never emerged as a presidential candidate, he was merely an aspirant. What section 115 of the Electoral Act forbids is you holding two candidacy (sic) which never happens in this case. In totality, therefore, the case is bereft of merit and it is left for the court to decide.

“We did not come to court, they came to court. So we are saying they did not prove their case so it’s now left for INEC based on what is available before them to go ahead and announce our client because the authentic primary which was the one that took place on the 9th of June 2022 is to be affirmed because the one of 28th May 2022 has not been proved. That is our argument,” Mr Raji said.

After carefully listening to the arguments of the counsels, Justice Fadima Murtala Aminu ruled that the judgement on the case will be delivered at a later date which will be communicated to all the parties.

“Having listened to all the arguments canvassed by both parties, I hereby rule that judgement would be delivered at a later date to be communicated to all parties in good time,” Justice Fadima ruled

A Federal High Court in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, on Monday, reserved judgement indefinitely in the candidacy tussle of the ruling All Progressives Congress

(APC) of Yobe North Senatorial district in next year’s National Assembly election.

Bashir Machina, who won the party’s primary election for the district, had approached the court, asking it to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission

(INEC) to uphold his election as the valid winner of the primary conducted on 28/05/2022.

But the leadership of the APC sent the name of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as its candidate for the district to INEC.

Mr Lawan, who had represented the district since 2007, did not participate in the primary. He had unsuccessfully participated in the party’s presidential primary.

After granting all applications and preliminary objections in the adoption of addresses from both parties, the Judge, Fadima Aminu, went straight into the hearing of the substantive matter, which was brought by Mr Machina.

The lead counsel to Machina, Ibrahim Bawa, maintained that his client was nominated following due process and therefore prayed the court to prevail on INEC and the APC to obey the provision of the Electoral Act by declaring his client the winner of the 28/05/2022 senatorial primary elections for the district.

“There were no second primary elections that were held in Yobe as far as we are concerned. Can you tell me where anybody in Yobe saw where a second primary election was held and where the primary was done,” Mr Bawa argued.

“Our prayer is that having won, the Electoral Act stipulates that the person should be declared as the winner which was done and the party has no option but to do so. We are therefore asking the court to compel INEC to comply with the law.

“On the 11th, the party compiled the report and said our candidate was the winner of the election and suddenly documents started coming out to say he was not. All these are put together and left for the court to decipher and decide on the right thing to do,” Mr Bawa argued.

In his counterargument, Ahmed Raj, the counsel of Mr Lawan, said the senate president, based on section 115 of the Electoral Act did was not disqualified to participate in another election even after he had lost out at the presidential primaries.

According to him, the provisions of section 115 only prohibit a candidate from going into another election “at the same time” in which case he noted did not apply to Mr Lawan because he never emerged as a presidential candidate.

He also called on the judge to strike out the case because it was filed “out of time”.

“This case was heard on merit, the objections were taken and essentially, our objection is to the fact that the matter is statute-barred because it was not filled within 14 days stipulated by the constitution.

“We also debunked the argument where they were alleging that the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, was a candidate in one primary before coming to this one to be a candidate and we say never. He never emerged as a presidential candidate, he was merely an aspirant. What section 115 of the Electoral Act forbids is you holding two candidacy (sic) which never happens in this case. In totality, therefore, the case is bereft of merit and it is left for the court to decide.

“We did not come to court, they came to court. So we are saying they did not prove their case so it’s now left for INEC based on what is available before them to go ahead and announce our client because the authentic primary which was the one that took place on the 9th of June 2022 is to be affirmed because the one of 28th May 2022 has not been proved. That is our argument,” Mr Raji said.

After carefully listening to the arguments of the counsels, Justice Fadima Murtala Aminu ruled that the judgement on the case will be delivered at a later date which will be communicated to all the parties.

“Having listened to all the arguments canvassed by both parties, I hereby rule that judgement would be delivered at a later date to be communicated to all parties in good time,” Justice Fadima ruled