The Supreme Court has affirmed Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan as the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Yobe North.
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.
Justice Chima Centus Nweze said: “The bedrock of the suit shows that there were allegations of fraudulent practices against the appellants.
“That the first 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. There was a need to call witnesses to prove allegations of fraud”.
Machina won unopposed during the Senatorial primary organised by the party last May, while the Senate President unsuccessfully contested the presidential ticket of the party in June.
Following Lawan’s failure at the presidential primary, Machina was reportedly asked to step down for Lawan but he insisted that he is the rightful candidate.
Amid the controversy, the APC submitted Lawan’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the candidate for the senatorial district.
INEC 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, the Court of Appeal affirmed Machina’s election as the APC candidate for the senatorial district.
Still not satisfied, the APC appealed the appellate court’s judgment, even after Lawan had announced he would no longer contest the matter.