The All Progressives Congress, APC, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission to court to impel the electoral arbitrator to recognise Senator Ahmad Lawan as its senatorial candidate for Yobe North in 2023.
INEC had insisted it would continue to defer to the report of its team which monitored the ruling APC Yobe North senatorial district primary as the embattled Senate President is currently locked in battle with Bashir Sheriff Machina for the ticket.
Machina emerged winner of the primary election supervised by INEC officials earlier in the year. The Senate President did not participate in the primary.
At the time the exercise was held, Lawan was pursuing his presidential ambition but lost to former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu.
Rather than submit the name of the elected candidate, the name of the Senate President was submitted to the commission by the ruling APC, a move that led to the deliberate omission of their names from the published particulars of candidates in late June.
To clarify the brewing controversy around the seat, INEC, on at least two different occasions, said it rejected the Senate President’s name because he had not been validly nominated for the senatorial seat.
The commission, however, urged the duo to resolve their issues internally or seek redress in court.
Machina had since filed a suit before a Federal High Court, Damaturu to challenge the APC National Working Committee decision.
He is contending that efforts to replace his name with Lawan’s, who did not participate in the primary of the APC, was a breach of Section 84(14) of the Electoral Act, 2022, Article 21.3 of the APC Constitution and Paragraphs 20 (c), 27 (c), (d) and (f) of the APC Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the 2023 General Elections, the suit is not premature, and Section 223 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
But in the originating summons dated September 02 and filed by APC with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1555/2022, the party is seeking an order directing INEC to publish the name and particulars of Lawan as the APC candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District in the 2023 general elections.
The court document read, “Let the above mentioned Defendant namely INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) of Plot 436 Zambezi Crescent, FCT, Abuja, within thirty (30) days after service of this summons inclusive of the day of service cause appearance to be entered for them to this summons which is issued upon the application of the above – named plaintiff whose address of service is C/o Beachcroft Solicitors, No 6, Massenya Street, Wuse Zone 6, off Cotonou Crescent, Wuse, Abuja and who seek for the determination of the following questions to wit:
“Whether having regard to Section 29 (1) & 29 (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the Plaintiff having uploaded and submitted the name of Ibrahim Ahmad Lawan to the Defendant’s electronic portal and the National Chairman and National Secretary of the Plaintiff having filled and signed the Defendant’s Form EC 9C submitting the name and particulars of Ibrahim Ahmed Lawan to the Defendant decline to publish the name and particulars of Ibrahim Ahmed as the candidate of the Plaintiff for the Yobe North Senatorial District in the 2023 General Elections?
“A Declaration that the Defendant cannot publish any other name or the particulars of any other person as the candidate of the Plaintiff for Yobe North Senatorial District election in the 2023 General Elections, except as nominated and submitted by the plaintiff. A declaration that the Defendant is bound by the provisions of section 29 (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022 to publish only the personal particulars of the candidate of the plaintiff for Yobe North Senatorial District in the 2023 General Elections, in the person of Ibrahim Ahmad Lawan, as nominated and submitted by the Plaintiff.
“An order directing the Defendant to publish the name and particulars of Ibrahim Ahmad Lawan as the candidate of the Plaintiff for Yobe North Senatorial District in the 2023 General Elections as nominated and submitted by the Plaintiff to the Defendant.”