In a split judgement, the Supreme Court, on Monday, restored the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan as candidate of the APC for the Yobe North Senatorial election.
Whereas three members of the five-man panel of Justices of the apex court, upheld an appeal the All Progressives Congress, APC, lodged to challenge the nomination of Bashir Sheriff Machina as its candidate for the senatorial election, two other Justices on the panel gave a dissenting judgement that dismissed the appeal.
The apex court, in the lead majority judgement that was read by Justice Centus Nweze, held that the suit Machina filed before the Federal High Court, upon which the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was ordered to recognize his candidacy, was incompetent.
It held that since the suit contained allegatons of fraud, it ought to have been commenced by Writ of Summons to allow witnesses to testify in the matter.
However, in his lead minority judgement, Justice Adamu Jauro, said there was sufficient evidence to establish that Lawan validly withdrew from the Senatorial race, to enable him to participate in the APC presidential primary election.
He noted that the APC, being the Appellant before it, did not controvert the evidence that Lawan had in a letter dated May 12, 2022, voluntarily withdrew from the Senatorial primary election the party held on May 28, 2022, so as to further his presidential ambition.
More so, Justice Jauro held that Machina, having emerged from the said primary election, it was wrong for the APC to organise another primary election after Lawan lost his presidential bid.
He held that by conducting a fresh primary poll without firstly cancelling the outcome of the initial poll that was won by Machina, the APC, acted in breach of section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
It held that the later primary poll that held on June 9, 2022, remained a nullity as same was not monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as required by the law.
Besides, Justice Jauro held that Lawan, having participated in the presidential primary election of the party, lacked the legal right to also participate in any senatorial primary election.
He held that the appeal the APC lodged to void the nomination of Machina as its candidate for the senatorial election, was grossly devoid of merit.
Consequently, he upheld the earlier judgement of the Court of Appeal in the matter and awarded a cost of N10millon against the APC.