Pelumi Olajengbesi, an Abuja-based human rights lawyer, has described the replacement of the name of Bashir Machina, the Yobe North Senatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) with that of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, as unconstitutional and fraudulent.
A statement issued by Pelumi Olajengbesi on Saturday said Abdullahi Adamu, the APC national chairman, was hellbent on foisting Lawan on members of the party as “consensus candidate” during the buildup to APC presidential primary, announcing the Senate President against the will of members of the National Working Committee of the party and other presidential contestants.
Olajengbesi, who is the Principal Partner of Law Corridor, noted that Adamu wants “enthrone” Lawan as the party’s Yobe North senatorial candidate, in spite of the fact that he (Ahmad Lawan) did not contest the Senatorial primary election.
Machina, who was declared the APC candidate at the Yobe North senatorial primary election, had stated emphatically that he would not step down for the Senate President in 2023 general elections.
Machina’s name, however, was replaced by Lawan’s on the list of Yobe senatorial candidates sent from the APC to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The statement explained, “Now that Lawan has lost the presidential primary to former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, it is shocking that the APC chairman again threw away constitutional democracy and moved on to enthrone Lawan as Yobe North senatorial candidate for the ruling party when it was apparent that the Senate President didn’t participate in the Senatorial primary.”
The statement added that it is a disgrace the party to allow such to happen and advised Machina to seek redress in court to ensure the proper thing is done.
According to the statement, the APC has disgraced and embarrassed itself as a shameless party with no respect for constitutional democracy which President Muhammadu Buhari preaches.
Going by the provisions of Section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022 signed by the President, the statement explained, the APC cannot just foist anybody on other contestants, not especially in the case where Machina contested the election and won whilst Lawan was busy chasing his presidential ambition which was met with preposterous defeat as he didn’t even come close to the first three in terms of votes cast by delegates.
The statement advised that APC must stop its illegalities and actions alien to decent democracy, stressing that there is nothing absolutely wrong with Lawan’s 24-year rubberstamp tenure in the National Assembly coming to an end in 2023.
The human rights lawyer expressed worry that it is this sit-tight syndrome that has destroyed democracy in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
The statement encouraged Bashir Machina to seek legal redress to reclaim his rightful mandate from Lawan, assuring that Machina has a good case and should not give in to intimidation and oppression by the high and mighty who should be taught a lesson that illegalities won’t be tolerated going into the 2023 general elections.