Relying on Technicalities Supreme Court Restores Senate President Lawan APC Senatorial Candidate, Yobe NorthLawan (left) and Machina

Paschal Emeka, Abuja | February 6, 2023

In a split judgment of three to two, the Supreme Court passed a judgment that restored the Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan as the Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for Yobe North Senatorial District.

The apex court, on Monday, in the majority judgment voided and set aside the judgments of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal which affirmed Bashir Sheriff Machina as the APC candidate having won the May 28, 2022, senatorial primaries.

The ground for voiding the two earlier judgments by the Supreme Court’s new judgment was that Bashir Sheriff Machina adopted originating summons to invoke his case at the Federal High Court.

Justice Centus Chima Nweze, who delivered the majority judgment of the apex court, held that Bashir Sheriff Machina ought to commence his case at the Federal High Court with a writ of summons in view of grievous allegations in his suit against the defendants.

Justice Nweze said that hostile issues were involved in Machina’s matter that cannot be resolved through originating summons.

However, Justices Adamu Jauro and Emmanuel Akomaye Agim disagreed with the majority judgment and held that both the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal were correct in their findings and declared Machina as APC’s Senatorial candidate for the Yobe North Senatorial District.

The two Justices held that Machina was lawfully nominated because the primary election of May 28, 2022, which produced him was lawfully conducted in line with the provisions of the law.

Justices Jauro and Agim insisted that APC conducted an unlawful primary election because the May 28 primary election was not canceled before that of June 9, 2022, which purportedly produced Lawan, describing it as illegal, unlawful, and a breach of section 285 of the 1999 Constitution.

Besides, they held that Lawan had in an undisputed letter to APC voluntarily withdrawn his participation in the primary election for the Presidential election.

They contended that INEC was specific that it witnessed the May 28 primary election that produced Machina but did not witness that of June 9, 2022, because there was no notification from APC to that effect.

They, therefore, dismissed the appeal by the APC for being incompetent and unmeritorious.

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