Nigeria: 2023 – Lawan’s Fate Uncertain As INEC Fails to List APC Candidate for Yobe North

The names of Messrs Lawan and Machina are missing on the list apparently due to the legal tussle in court over who the real candidate is.

The participation of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in the 2023 general elections appears uncertain as his name was missing on the list of validly nominated senatorial candidates released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday.

Also missing on the list is Bashir Machina, the acclaimed winner of the APC primary in Yobe North Senatorial District, which Mr Lawan is contending for.

INEC had on Tuesday released the final list of the presidential candidates and their running mates as well as the senatorial and House of Representatives candidates.

According to the list, a total of 1,101 candidates from the 18 registered political parties are vying for the 109 senatorial seats while 3,122 candidates are contesting for the 360 seats in the House.

All 18 registered parties are fielding presidential candidates in the 25 February election.

INEC is believed to have left the names of Messrs Lawan and Machina out of the list because of the subsisting court case over who is the actual candidate of the APC in the district.

It was the second time the Commission would do so. It did not list either of the two in June when it released the first list.

Engrossed in his pursuit of the 2023 presidential ticket of the ruling APC, Mr Lawan could not participate in the senatorial primary held in the district at the time.

He lost his bid to former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, who will fly the party’s flag in the 25 February presidential election.

Mr Machina, a former member of the House of Representatives, was elected for the seat at the primary supervised by INEC officials but the name of the senate president surprisingly was forwarded by the APC leadership to the INEC.

While the APC leadership has continued to push the interest of Mr Lawan, the electoral body, on at least three different occasions, said it would not recognise him unless the court ruled otherwise.

Akpabio cleared

In the latest list, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, who was in a similar dilemma as Mr Lawan, made the list having been cleared by a court.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, last week, ordered INEC to recognise the former minister as the candidate of the APC for the Akwa Ibom North-West District for the 2023 elections.

In its ruling, the court faulted the commission’s claim that it refused to accept and publish Mr Akpabio’s name because it monitored only the primary poll conducted by the APC on 9 June where he did not participate, not one conducted on 27 May. The former minister won the latter primary.

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