The All Progressives Congress has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to adopt Ahmad Lawan as its senatorial candidate for Yobe North in 2023, Peoples Gazette can report.
In a June 14, 2023, letter to INEC, which was received on June 15 at the electoral office’s headquarters in Abuja, the APC conveyed its intention to upload Mr Lawan’s name as its candidate from the district, all but calling the bluff of Bashir Machina, its renegade member who won the ticket at primary last month.
Mr Machina had insisted he won’t be ceding his mandate to Mr Lawan because he duly won the senatorial primary while the Senate President was in Abuja pursuing the ruling party’s presidential ticket. Mr Lawan lost the ticket to Bola Tinubu on June 8 and returned to his district to claim his party’s ticket for his sixth Senate run.
The APC appeared to have relied on a clause that mandated primary contenders to withdraw from a race voluntarily or be arbitrarily substituted by the party as the case may arise. Mr Machina acknowledged the clause but told The Gazette he didn’t endorse it as an aspirant.
A spokesman for INEC did not return a request seeking comments about whether or not the electoral office is satisfied by the ruling party’s explanation for the submission of Mr Lawan’s name. A party spokesman did not return a request about the legal basis for its action.
Legal analyst Chioma Okechukwu said the APC’s decision was dicey, and Mr Machina would have a good chance in court.
“They need his consent to substitute his name since he legally won the primary,” Ms Okechukwu said. “Political parties have the powers to nominate candidates, but INEC also has to do its due diligence to ensure that every nomination complies with due process of the law.”