The supreme court has affirmed Ahmad Lawan, the senate president, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Yobe north, annulling an earlier judgement by the appeal court.
In a majority judgment delivered on Monday, the apex court allowed the appeal filed by the APC against Bashir Machina’s candidature.
Delivering the judgment, three out of a five-member panel agreed with the position of the APC that the suit at the trial court ought not to have commenced via an originating summons since it contained allegations of fraud.
“The bedrock of the suit shows that there were allegations of fraudulent practices against the appellants,” the judge said.
“That the 1st respondent accused the APC of fraudulently substituting his name with that of Lawan.
“Where there is an allegation of fraud it should not be commenced by an originating summons.
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“There was a need to call witnesses to prove allegations of fraud.”
Machina had won unopposed during the senatorial primary organised by the party in May 2022.
But the senate president was said to have participated in another primary organised by the APC after he contested the presidential ticket unsuccessfully in June.
Machina was reportedly asked to step down for Lawan but he insisted that he is the rightful candidate.
Amid the controversy, the APC submitted the senate president’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the candidate for Yobe north.
The electoral commission subsequently refused to list any candidate for the district.
Aggrieved, Machina instituted a suit asking the court to declare him as the authentic senatorial candidate.
In September 2022, a federal high court in Damaturu, the Yobe capital, ordered the APC and INEC to recognise Machina as the candidate.
A month later, an Abuja court of appeal affirmed Machina’s election as the candidate of the APC for the Yobe north senatorial district.
Still not satisfied, the APC appealed the appellate court’s judgment.