October 5, 2022

There is this trend with our politicians which manifested in this current electoral cycle. An average Nigerian politician is an optimist who feels and thinks no position is too high to aspire to.
You will see many of our politicians buying forms for a presidential contest, knowing full well they are just making up the numbers and at the same time, they always have a Plan B. Most of them will buy a senatorial form and if they are first-time governors they will also get a gubernatorial form.
Senate President Ahmed Lawan woke up on the wrong side of the bed and decided to contest the presidency. To be sure, it is within his rights to contest. However, with the heavyweights in the contest, nobody, probably except Lawan, thought that he will emerge victorious. After losing out in the presidential primary, Lawan wants to go back to the senate, but there is a snag. The Yobe north senatorial candidate of the APC, Bashir Machina, has insisted that he won’t step down for Lawan.
According to him, Lawan, who currently occupies the seat, did not have a plan to return to the senate.
Machina, who insisted on not giving the ticket to Lawan, stated that the senator would not have contested the party’s presidential primary if he had the ambition of returning to the senate.
I think I am fully in support of Machina and he should resist all pressures to step down. These are the benefits of the new Electoral Act. Under Section 31 of the 2022 Electoral Act, the only way somebody can be replaced in any form is that we no longer have substitution by the political party. What you have now is withdrawal by individual or nominee and or death. The law is saying that those who have emerged at all levels, up to the presidential level, can decide that they are no longer interested. You can write an application signed by yourself, and deliver it to your party which will now deliver to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Indeed, if it was the former act, the APC national working committee would have just substituted Machina’s name and sent it to INEC and nothing would have happened. Right now, Machina knows the law is on his side and if he stands his ground, he’s on his way to becoming a senator.
Lawan has been in the national assembly since 1999. He won’t be senate president if he returns to the senate, so does he want to be an ordinary floor member in the senate? I think it is time he takes a bow.
Again, I ask if Lawan had a Plan B, why didn’t he put a stooge or his relative to hold the senatorial ticket in trust for him? Or maybe he was super confident he was going to win the presidential election.
Immediately after Bauchi state governor, Bala Mohammed, lost the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primary, the secretary to the state government who was the winner of the PDP guber ticket in Bauchi immediately withdrew from the race. Bala put someone he could trust.
Ebonyi state governor, Dave Umahi, did better as he made it a family affair. Umahi’s brother held the senatorial ticket of his zone. After losing the APC presidential primary, Umahi took his ticket back.
Former Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, did the same thing in 2014.
It’s a common practice among our politicians.
Meanwhile, former Akwa Ibom governor Godswill Akpabio‘s dream of coming back to the senate has hit a brick wall. The resident electoral commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom state, Mike Igini, has warned politicians in the habit of perpetrating electoral fraud in pre-election times, to carefully examine key provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act.
Speaking in an interview in Uyo, Igini explained that “so many politicians are still relying on the repealed 2010 and 2012 Electoral Acts”.
According to Igini, “the purported emergence of former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio as the APC senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North-West (Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District), is nothing but a Nollywood fantasy because, under the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act, the substitution of candidates by political parties is no longer permitted under the Electoral Act”.
Akpabio has only one option now, negotiate with the current holder of the ticket to withdraw or resign.
Indeed, the electoral act must be amended by the next national assembly to stop all these shenanigans by our politicians. This practice of holding two tickets simultaneously must stop. The new law should entail that you can’t contest for another ticket after losing a higher ticket. This political fraud must stop.
Moreover, our politicians should allow our democracy to grow. This penchant for being in the political system by hook or crook should also stop. Most of them can’t survive outside of politics so they do all they can to remain in the system. We need to strengthen our systems and democracy.
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