September 08, (THEWILL) – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has told the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that its candidates remained barred from the 2023 Yobe North senatorial election until further notice.
INEC stated this in reaction to an affidavit filed by the APC to counter Bashir Machina’s suit against the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who is laying claim to the party’s ticket for the election.
The commission, in a statement on Thursday, said it did not authorise the counter affidavit purportedly filed in the Federal High Court, Damaturu Judicial Division relating to the Yobe North Senatorial District primary election.
THEWILL reports that Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Bashir Machina have been at loggerheads over who is APC’s rightful candidate for the Yobe North senatorial election, resulting in the latter’s suit filed before the Federal High Court in Damaturu, Yobe State.
Machina had been declared as the winner of APC’s primary election for the senatorial district, but the party submitted Lawan’s name to INEC as its candidate for the poll.
On its part, INEC had explained that if a political party submits the name of a candidate that did not emerge from valid party primaries, “the commission is not obligated to publish the name of such a candidate”.
An Affidavit before the Federal High Court in Damaturu, Yobe state, dated August 11, 2022, by an assistant executive officer in the Litigation and Prosecution Department of INEC, claimed that the primary election, which Marchina held on to, was not the one organised by the national leadership of the APC for the Yobe North Senatorial District.
The purported INEC official said on oath that the APC submitted Lawan as its candidate for the Yobe North Senatorial District.
But the Electoral Commission in a statement issued on Thursday, by its National Commissioner, and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said its decision not to recognise Lawan nor Machina stands.
The statement read: “The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been drawn to a counter affidavit purportedly filed in the Federal High Court, Damaturu Judicial Division relating to the Yobe North Senatorial District primary election.
“Notwithstanding the matter in Court and without prejudice to the consideration or likely outcome of the case in court, the Commission reiterates its earlier position that it stands by the report of its monitoring team and it was on the basis of that report that the Commission did not publish the name and personal particulars of any candidate for the Yobe North Senatorial District.
“Consequently, the Commission will review its quality assurance protocols, including the preview by appropriate ranking Officials of all processes filed on its behalf to ascertain their correctness in all material particulars with all reports and all information at its disposal before their presentation, so that a situation like this is not repeated.
“The Commission has also instructed the external counsel briefed to handle this matter to reflect the correct position, which aligns with the report submitted by our Monitoring Team.”