The senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress for Yobe North, Bashir Machina has insisted that he is still in the race and is not willing to relinquish his ticket for the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan.
Lawan had contested the presidential ticket of the party but lost to a former Lagos governor and national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu.
Meanwhile, Machina won the primaries of the party for the Yobe North in Lawan’s absence. Lawan had hoped Machina would relinquish the ticket to him following his failed bid to win the APC presidential ticket, but Machina has insisted that he will not step down for Lawan.
Machina during an interview on Channels TV, monitored by SaharaReporters on Wednesday, said Lawan did not contest for the senatorial seat while expressing confidence that the leaders of the party, whom he described as law-abiding, would not want to go against the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
According to him, he is sure Lawan is not planning to return to the Senate after his tenure ends in 2023.
“He (Lawan) didn’t believe and I’m sure he didn’t plan to go back to the National Assembly; that’s why he contested for President and lost,” he said.
“No, Ahmad Lawan did not contest for the Senate, of course, it’s a known fact that he contested for president and lost and when I contested for the senatorial ticket, Senator Ahmad Lawan did not participate or contest so I don’t think that may be in any way an issue.
“The motto of APC is justice and peace and then, of course, this is a party that’s being led by responsible law-abiding citizens, so being law-abiding, you think that it will be part of the law or it will be considered as justice for you to say well, somebody had a mandate from the people who elected him and then you change him suddenly overnight. No, I’m sure my party will not just do that, I’m confident my leaders are very fair and just, going by the motto of the party – justice and peace,” he said.
Machina also noted that it would be wrong for the leaders of the party to replace his name with that of Lawan in the list to be submitted to the electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said, “I won’t say my name is serendipitously replaced or whatever, you know the electoral act is very clear. Somebody, I don’t think in this era, will just sit down and remove someone’s name and replace another person’s name, especially somebody that didn’t undergo the process of that primary election. Somebody that didn’t contest an election, naturally can’t be in that election that’s covered by the law and the Electoral Act.”
Speaking on who might be behind the speculations that he had stepped down, Machina noted, “Maybe some power play.”
He continued, “It’s a reality that we just finished the presidential primaries, that is, we finished all the primaries from top to bottom.
“Maybe some politicians who are not prepared to contest for certain elections got themselves contesting the elections, thinking that somehow, somewhere they will come across some luck to pick the ticket. People who are not actually fit enough to contest certain offices went about and then maybe eventually they are contemplating that they should get back to their actual level, maybe so.”
He stressed that he did not emerge as a consensus candidate but was announced the winner of the primary election after contesting with others.
Machina had 289 votes out of the 300 votes cast by the delegates from six local government areas.
Machina added that he intentionally didn’t fill out the withdrawal form mandated for all aspirants in the APC to fill because he was not in the contest to withdraw.