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The Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, on Wednesday, ordered the All Progressives Congress and the Independent National Electoral Commission to recognise Bashir Machina as the party’s candidate for Yobe North senatorial seat.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that Justice Fadimatu Aminu directed the APC to submit Machina’s name to INEC as the rightful winner of the party’s primary election held in the district on May 28.
She held that the “phantom June 9 primary election” that produced the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, as the winner and candidate was a “nullity” because INEC did not monitor the election.
Justice Aminu also discounted the claim that the case was statue-barred, saying the cause of action arose on June 17, not May 28.
The judge said Machina, the plaintiff, approached the court when he discovered that the first defendant, the APC, had forwarded Lawan’s name to INEC as its candidate.
She, therefore, said the constitutional requirement of filing the case not later than 14 days from the election was not applicable.
Efforts to get the reaction of Lawan’s camp however failed as his Special Adviser, Media, Ola Awoniyi, did not take his calls or reply to the messages sent to him on the matter.
However, Machina, in a statement by his media aide, Husaini Isa, on Wednesday, hailed the judgment and called on his supporters and the people of Yobe North, to remain peaceful and not to react in the face of provocation.
He said, “I welcome the decision of the judge of the Federal High Court, Damaturu, it is a victory that stands for justice. It is now time to set aside our differences and close ranks for the impending battle, the next war we must wage is the war for APC’s victory in the coming 2023 general elections.
“I am particularly happy that the administration of Governor Mai Mala Buni places much emphasis on reconciliation as a virile tool for peaceful co-existence, we must therefore embrace it and move forward.
“I thank all my supporters for their fervent prayers and I call for immediate reconciliation among the two groups that exist within the party in Yobe North.”