The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, adjourned till February 6, 2023 to decide the fate of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan in his appeal challenging the affirmation of Bashir Machina as the genuine candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) for Yobe North Senatorial District.
A five-member panel of justices of the apex court, led by Justice Centus Nweze, fixed the date after parties adopted their briefs in the matter.
APC, which is routing for Senate President Ahmad Lawan as its senatorial candidate, filed the appeal against the judgments of the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal, which held Bashir Machina as the party’s candidate.
Sepiribo Peters, who represented the APC at Wednesday’s proceedings, argued that the primary election conducted on May 27, 2022, which produced Machina, is unknown to law because unlawful people conducted it.
He claimed that another primary, conducted on June 6, last year, which produced Lawan, is the authentic election.
However, Mr. Sarafa Yusuf, counsel to Machina, asked the apex court to dismiss the APC’s appeal for being frivolous and baseless.
He informed the court that the Danjuma Manga Committee set up by the APC conducted the primary on behalf of the APC National Working Committee (NWC).
Yusuf drew the attention of the court to an affidavit deposed by Manga, to the effect that he was mandated along with five others by the APC national secretariat to conduct the senatorial primary in Yobe.
The counsel argued that up to now, the affidavit of the said Manga had not been disputed or denied by the APC and, subsequently, urged the court to affirm Machina as the authentic APC senatorial candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District.
It would be recalled that, the Court of Appeal, Abuja division, affirmed the judgment of a Federal High Court in Damaturu, Yobe State, which declared Machina, as the genuine candidate of the APC for Yobe North Senatorial District.
A three-member panel of justices of the court, in a unanimous judgment delivered by President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, dismissed the appeal filed by the Senate President for lacking in merit.
Justice Fadima Aminu of the Federal High Court had, in her judgment, held that Machina remained APC’s authentic candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District.
She held that the “phantom June 9 primary election” that produced the Senate President as winner and candidate was a “nullity” because INEC did not monitor the election.
Lawan lost the APC presidential ticket to former governor of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Machina was asked to step down for Lawan but he insisted he would not. In the face of the controversy, the APC submitted the Senate President’s name to INEC as its senatorial candidate for Yobe North.
Not satisfied with the decision of his party, Machina headed to court to seek redress. Specifically, Machina, in his suit, asked the court to declare him the validly elected candidate of the APC for Yobe North Senatorial District.