Sunday, March 26, 2023

Supreme Court affirms Lawan Yobe North senatorial candidate for APC

Justices Emmanuel Agim and Adamu Jauro, two other judges on the five-member panel, dissented from the majority ruling.

• February 6, 2023
Ahmad Lawan and Bashir Machina
Ahmad Lawan and Bashir Machina

The Supreme Court has affirmed Senate President Ahmad Lawan as the senatorial candidate of Yobe North on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a majority decision delivered on Monday, three out of a five-member panel led by Justice Centus Nweze upheld the APC’s case against Bashir Machina’s candidacy. 

The apex court agreed with the APC that the trial court’s suit should not have been initiated through an originating summons since it contained charges of fraud.

“The bedrock of the suit shows that there were allegations of fraudulent practices against the appellants,” Justice Nweze 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. There was a need to call witnesses to prove allegations of fraud,” he added. 

The ruling held that the decision of the Federal High Court in Yobe and the Court of Appeal in Abuja were “perverse and must be set aside” because of procedural irregularity.

Justice Nweze said that Mr Machina ought to have commenced his suit by a writ of summons in place of the originating summons. 

Justices Emmanuel Agim and Adamu Jauro, two other judges, dissented from the majority ruling.

Mr Jauro fined the APC N3 million after stating that the APC’s “appeal is devoid of merit. Mr Agim claimed that Mr Lawan was selected in a “illegal contraption” at the APC primary poll that took place on June 9.

He said that Mr Lawan was automatically disqualified from the National Assembly election when he withdrew from the contest for the Yobe North senatorial district on May 12, 2022, to run for the APC presidential ticket.

Mr Agim added that the alleged primary election, which took place on June 9, 2022, was a “ruse” because INEC did not supervise it.

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