In a scathing review, the European Union Election Observation Mission has strongly condemned the Supreme Court for its decision to reinstate former Senate President Ahmad Lawan to the upper legislative chamber
The Mission argues that this move has significantly damaged the court’s public image, particularly because Lawan did not participate in the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries.
The European Union (EU) highlighted the Supreme Court’s ruling as a key contributing factor to the negative perception surrounding the court. This criticism was outlined in the Mission’s recently published final report titled ‘Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2023’.
According to the report,
“The Nigerian Supreme Court continues to suffer from a negative perception following its decision to reinstate Senator Ahmed Lawan, who never took part in the Senate primaries. Both the high court and the appeal court judgments were against this action.”
During the Senate’s valedictory session, Rochas Okorocha took a humorous jab at Lawan regarding the circumstances surrounding his return to the Senate without proper participation in the APC’s senatorial primary.
Okorocha amusingly remarked, “I didn’t run for the Senate this time. I only ran for the office of the president. You are a very clever politician. How you managed to come back to the Senate is another chapter in our political history that we need to discuss.”
He further quipped, “I was out there in the field with you, running for president. I never knew how you were able to navigate your way, leaving some of us behind. Next time, you must teach me your tricks.”
It is worth recalling that initially, Lawan had aspired for the ruling party’s presidential candidacy. However, after losing to Bola Tinubu, he attempted to secure the senatorial ticket in his district.
The Supreme Court’s ruling, which brought Lawan back, emerged from a political battle between Lawan and his political ally Bashir Machina. Machina refused to relinquish the APC ticket for the Yobe North senatorial district. Undeterred, Machina, the rightful winner of the Yobe North senatorial ticket, stood firm and refused to give it up under any circumstances.
To remove Machina and support Lawan, the APC urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt the former Senate president as its senatorial candidate for Yobe North in the 2023 elections.
Finally, on February 6, 2023, the controversial ruling by the Supreme Court favoured Lawan.