The only way Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, could return to the Senate in 2023 has been explained by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
From INEC’s explanation, Lawan or any individual in his position is left at the mercy of the candidates who have been legally and constitutionally nominated by their political parties.
Although the INEC’s National Commissioner of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, who appeared on Arise TV on Monday morning, said he has not come across the names of candidates submitted by political parties, viral report has it that the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Yobe North Senatorial District has replaced the name of Bashir Machina with that of Lawan.
While Senator Lawan was battling for the APC presidential ticket, Machina was declared the winner of the Yobe North Senatorial District primary election.
Okoye said that the Commission monitored and has the reports of all the senatorial and House of Representatives primaries, adding that properly nominated candidates must write to INEC with a sworn affidavit, asking for a fresh primary, which would be conducted within 14 days before a replacement can be made.
He further advised Machina and others whose mandates have been taken from them to approach a well-constituted court of law to seek redress since INEC already has the reports from the primaries.
“I completely agree with you that someone who has not contested party’s primary should not be in a position to be nominated as party’s candidate,” Okoye said.
“But now the Independent National Electoral Commission is not in a position as at now to make a determination in relation to what you’re saying or to make a determination in relation to whose name was submitted by a political party.
“The Commission monitored the primaries of different political parties. Their senatorial and House of Representatives primaries and we have our reports. So if somebody emerged from the party primary and someone else’s name is submitted, it is the duty of that particular individual to utilise Section 285 of the Constitution, Section 84 and 29 of the Electoral Act to seek redress in a constituted court of law.
“Moreover, what the law provides is that at the end of this nomination process, if any of the candidates that have been properly and constitutional nominated withdraws in writing and sworn affidavit that the ‘political party that nominated me must and shall conduct fresh primaries within the period of 14 days and then make such replacement.’
“Then the person must do this through a letter submitted to the political party that nominated him with an affidavit indicating that he or she has voluntarily withdrawn. So that is the state of the law as at today.”