Anyhowness is a norm in Nigeria. Anyone could just wake and say it is my turn to be president because he deserves it. And, another in the same party can decide to illegally substitute names before an election because he’s not done being an absentee leader.Anonymous
Ahmed Lawan had lost the APC presidential primaries, after him and cohorts wanted to force their way in. The party’s chairman, unexpectedly, announced him but opposition came after and the decision was upturned.
But, Lawan does not understand the spirit of sportsmanship, “you win some, you lose some”, so he decided to smuggle back in to the Senate from where he went to contest for the presidency. Lawan is now saying he can’t lose on both sides.
Machina, many people’s new favourite, is saying he won the primaries for Yobe North and should be allowed to contest on 2023.
He’s not going to be pushed around, and that’s a bit of what democracy is about.
Machina has a history and we wrote about it here. Ahmed Lawan’s history, on the other hand, is about to change from his personal plans, and he’s already taking illegal steps to make sure it doesn’t.
Lawan’s name was uploaded on the INEC’s server by the APC alongside other senatorial candidates across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Before then, APC had written INEC, informing the electoral body that the Senate president will be its nominee for the Yobe North senatorial seat, which Lawan currently represents.
The APC, in a few days, probably all became ‘unaware’ that Machina won the election unopposed, agreement or not, and will not give in to pressure to gift Lawan the seat. Amnesia maybe.
Angered by this, Machina has vowed to go to court to challenge the attempt to steal his mandate.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, Machina appealed to the APC to correct the omission of his name, saying he would have no option than to seek legal redress if his name remains substituted with that of Lawan.
Vowing never to back down on his mandate, Machina said, “In the list sent to INEC, my name was found to be misrepresented. I don’t know whether it was erroneous, my name was not in the list of the names that was said to be presented today to INEC. For the avoidance of doubt, I remain the candidate duly elected of the APC Yobe North Zone C senatorial zone.
“I am the elected candidate; I did not withdraw for anybody and will not withdraw because as a matter of right that is the mandate given to me by members of our great party, the delegates. So surreptitiously removing my name, I consider, is very undemocratic, illegal.
“Insha Allah, I will take measures, first by reminding and appealing to my party that if this action is truly done, it should be corrected, especially if it is erroneously done. We are actually seeking redress from the National Working Committee of our party under the able leadership of Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the national chairman, that there is an anomaly and we need it to be corrected.”
The illegality of the substitution
Section 33 Nigeria Electoral Act 2022
Political parties changing candidates
A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted under section 29 of this Act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate:
Provided that in the case of such withdrawal or death of a candidate, the political party affected shall, within 14 days of the occurrence of the event, hold a fresh primary election to produce and submit a fresh candidate to the Commission for the election concerned.
Lawan will argue that Machina’s name had not been submitted, but:
Section 31 Nigeria Electoral Act 2022
Withdrawal of candidate
A candidate may withdraw his or her candidature by notice in writing signed by him and delivered personally by the candidate to the political party that nominated him for the election and the political party shall convey such withdrawal to the Commission not later than 90 days to the election.
A similar case happened with Godswill Akpabio in Akwa Ibom and there’s opposition to the attempt.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, explained that the 2022 Electoral Act does not allow the substitution of nominees by political parties.
He stressed that the report of the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District APC primary, as submitted to INEC headquarters in Abuja, was final.
He said: “By virtue of Section 31 of the 2022 Electoral Act, we no longer have substitution by political party.
“What you have now is withdrawal by individual or nominee and or death. The law is not saying you should go and kill people so that you can have yourself on the ballot. No.
“The law is saying that those who have emerged at all levels up to the presidential level; you can decide that you are no longer interested.
“You can write an application signed by yourself, delivered to your party who will now deliver to INEC, but nobody can shave the political head of another person in his or her absence.
“The report of the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District APC primary as submitted to INEC headquarters in Abuja is final. It is concluded. The train has left the station. The timeline is clear.
“All those who are in politics should go and study the 2022 Electoral Act very well. I hear people taking about substitution.
“If you look at Section 31 and Section 34 of the Electoral Act, those of you who are still carrying the old idea of the 2010, 2012 Electoral Act in your head, thinking you can substitute willfully, it is no longer so”.
He further explained that the new Electoral Law also provided that it is only in a case of death of a nominee, a fresh primary would be conducted, stressing, “So what we are seeing going on is clearly a misnormer.
“The rerun can only be conducted between and among those who participated in the first Senatorial election of May 27, 2022 and the Senatorial primary for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District was not cancelled, was not nullified, was not inconclusive.”
Ogini was speaking with Comfort FM Radio station in Uyo.