Lawan vs Machina : INEC Finally Reveals Its Stance on Eligible Candidate
In what has become one of the most contentious electoral coalitions in the run-up to the 2023 general election, Nigeria’s electoral commission has broken its silence on the alleged discriminatory stance against candidates nominated by some political parties, according to Premium Times.
Just before the deadline for political parties to submit their candidate lists, the case of the APC primary poll for the Yobe North senatorial seat became a point of contention between incumbent Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Bashir Machina, the supposed winner of the APC senatorial primary polls.
The antecedent of Lawan, Machina feud
Lawan entered the presidential race alongside the like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi, and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who eventually became the bannerman of the party.
However, Lawan’s eligibility to contest in the 2023 general election lies solely on Bashir Machina stepping down and giving his mantle to the senate president who did not contest in the senatorial primaries due to his involvement in the presidential primaries of the APC.
Meanwhile there is a lot of pressure from Lawan’s camp urging Machina to step down for Lawan who is on a 23 consecutive year run in the legislative assembly.
Meanwhile, APC leadership has submitted its list of senatorial candidates to the INEC with the name of Bashir Sherrif Machina missing, enlisting Senate President Ahmad Lawan who did not take part in the last Yobe North senatorial primary, a strange act by the APC that many described as a sort of power-play which does speak well of its reputation.
INEC finally responds
Reacting to the whole situation, INEC said it has no power to reject the names of candidates sent by political parties.
INEC Commissioner, Mohammed Haruna, made this claim stating that the parties have the rights to hold primaries while INEC is empowered to monitor them to ensure full compliance with the rules and regulations of the land and party.
“INEC has no powers to reject names sent by political parties. Primaries are the sole prerogatives of parties. INEC’s responsibility is merely to monitor the primaries and make sure they abide by their own regulations, the Electoral Act & the Constitution.
“Our power in that regard rests on the fact that our reports are admissible as evidence whenever an aggrieved candidate petitions his party or the courts. It is therefore up to an aggrieved candidate to apply for the Certified True Copy (CTC) of our reports for presentation as evidence that his party did not abide by any or all of the three sets of regulations I mentioned,” the national commissioner noted.”
Meanwhile, Haruna disclosed that the electoral body only accepts names in accordance with the statutory provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act.
He made reference to Section 29 (1) of the electoral act as the part of the law that vindicates INEC.
It states that the lists of the candidates the party proposed to sponsor at the election “must have emerged from valid primaries conducted by the political party.”