Sunday Aborisade in Abuja
The winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election in Yobe North Senatorial District, Bashir Machina, has alerted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about an alleged plan to forge his signature on a letter, stating that he has voluntarily withdrawn from the race to pave the way for Senate President Ahmad Lawan.
The spokesperson for the Yobe North APC Senatorial Candidate Campaign Organisation, Husaini Mohammed Isah, raised the alarm in a statement made available to THISDAY in Abuja on Tuesday.
Isah wondered why some leaders of the party would connive to forge a withdrawal letter purportedly emanating from Machina when the candidate had already written the APC National Working Committee restating that he is not willing to step down for anybody.
Machina is currently struggling to reclaim his mandate from the APC national leadership.
The party had, in the list of candidates sent to INEC, replaced Machina’s name with that of the Senate President, Lawan, who did not participate in the exercise.
Part of the statement read: “Information available to Bashir Machina Campaign Organisation has it that some individuals have entered an unholy alliance with some compromised leaders to forge the withdrawal letter of Yobe North APC senatorial candidate, Hon. Bashir Sheriff Machina, even after communicating formally to the party leadership affirming his stand not to step down for anybody.
“It is sad and indeed unfortunate that after all the cries and alarm raised by the Campaign Organisation exposing sinister plot to subvert the will of the people of Yobe North, some mischievous elements are hell-bent and determined to carry out their criminal offence.
“It has eventually come to light in this untidy business of forged withdrawal letter, that some compromised leaders have become slave to corruption and criminality in Nigeria.
“Facts affirming our earlier accusation that some individuals were trying to forge the withdrawal letter of Bashir Machina have emerged, and as Campaign Organisation we want to make it abundantly clear that any withdrawal letter carrying the signature of our candidate is a forged document and does not emanate from him.
“We wonder how a sane person could delve into this embarrassing action which is criminal in nature and has the potentials of soiling the reputation of the APC as a party that stands for justice.
“We want to reiterate that Bashir Machina’s letter dated 13th June which was sent to the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, still stands and any attempt to forge his withdrawal letter would be treated as a pure criminal offence irrespective of the calibre of person(s) involved.”
INEC had, in a certified true copy of its report last month, confirmed that Machina won the APC primary for the Yobe North Senatorial District held on May 28, 2022.
The INEC’s report sighted by THISDAY in Abuja had indicated that Machina scored 289 votes out of 300 delegates that took part in the election.
The development was meant to lay to rest, claims by the APC that the Senate President, Lawan, won the party’s ticket.
Machina had consistently been insisting that he won the primary and that he remained the candidate of the APC for the Yobe North Senatorial District in 2023 National Assembly election.
The report, signed by INEC and dated June 23, 2022, did not corroborate claims by the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, that Lawan won the ticket again.
Adamu had submitted Lawan’s name as the candidate of the APC for Yobe North senatorial election slated for February 2023, to INEC.
He had claimed that a primary was held and that Lawan purportedly emerged winner.
Machina however had to take necessary legal steps to stop INEC from publishing the name of Lawan as the candidate of the APC.
This is because INEC had said it lacked the powers to pick a candidate in an election, even though its authentication was necessary to certify that an election held.
Investigation by THISDAY revealed that Machina will file a suit to defend his alleged stolen mandate at a Yobe High Court whenever another name different from his, is published by INEC.