The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, fixed February 6 for judgment in the protracted legal tussle between the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and Bashir Machina over the authenticity of the senatorial candidacy of the All Progressive Congress.
The apex court fixed the date to determine the merit of an appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress, challenging the judgment that disqualified Lawan from contesting the forthcoming election as its candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District.
A five-man panel of justices of the apex court led by Justice Chima Nweze adjourned the appeal for judgment, after taking arguments from both parties.
Earlier on November 28, 2022, Lawan lost his re-election bid, following the Court of Appeal judgment in Abuja, which affirmed Machina as the authentic candidate of the APC for the senatorial election.
In a unanimous decision, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensen of the appellate court, dismissed the appeal APC filed in favor of Lawan, as lacking in merit.
Earlier on, the party had challenged the judgment of a Federal High Court in Damaturu which recognised Machina as its candidate for the senatorial district.
The high court had nullified a parallel primary election the APC conducted to make sure Lawan returned to the Senate and held that the poll, which the party conducted, was invalid.
The court ordered the APC to immediately forward Machina’s name to INEC as its candidate for the election.
The appellate court also affirmed the judgment of the high court noting that APC, failed to join Lawan as a co-appellant in the appeal before it, and rather cited him as the 2nd Respondent.
It held that the action of the party showed that while trying to achieve its goal, it worked at cross purposes with Lawan and dismissed the appeal while awarding N1 million cost in favour of Machina.
The court affirmed that the primary election that produced Lawan was duly monitored by INEC in accordance with the Electoral Act, the 1999 Constitution and the electoral guidelines of the APC.
Recall that after Lawan lost the primary election that produced Bola Tinubu as the APC presidential candidate. He, however, urged Machina who vied and won as the candidate of the party for the senatorial seat, to relinquish the senatorial ticket to him – a request Machina turned down.
However, in a twist of events, the APC submitted Lawan’s name to the INEC as its senatorial candidate for Yobe North which made an aggrieved Machina seek redress at the court.
Specifically, he asked the court to declare him as the validly elected senatorial candidate of the APC for the senatorial election and the court granted his prayer.
Insisting that Lawan was the preferred candidate, the APC took the matter before the appellate court and prayed the court to set aside the high court judgment by Justice Fadimatu Aminu which nullified the parallel primary election the APC conducted to ensure Lawan’s return to the senate and declared Machina as the authentic candidate for the senatorial seat