The winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Yobe North Senatorial District primaries, Bashir Sheriff Machina, says he may be the next Senate President.
In an interview with Leadership, Machina said he had been approached by some people to step down for Senate President Ahmad Lawan, but that he would not.
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Lawan had contested the presidential ticket of the party but lost to a former Lagos governor and national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu.
He had been representing Yobe North Senatorial District at the National Assembly for 15 years.
In the interview, Machina said Lawan had no right to the ticket, saying he wanted to go into the National Assembly to improve upon his performance.
“We were lucky that our senator became the Senate President. By becoming the Senate President there’s nothing… Any Senator can be the Senate President. I may likely be the next Senate President. Who knows? I was in the National Assembly long before Ahmad,” said Machina who was first elected a Federal Lawmaker in 1990.
He insisted that he was still in the race and is not willing to relinquish his ticket.
He said, “Surely, I am not going back. I wrote letter to the party to say I am staying in the race. There is nowhere in the party guidelines that says the ticket should at any time be given to some one that didn’t participate in the primary,” he said.
“The voluntary withdrawal form was attached to the nomination form which was about 16 pages. Form 15 is withdrawal form, so I simply left it. I didn’t fill it because I felt I was not going to withdraw from the contest. And there is no place in the form that says he must fill all the forms.”
Machina said if Lawan were serious about his legislative role, he would not have gone into the contest for the presidential ticket which he lost.
On whether he could be forced to relinquish the ticket, Machina said such cannot happen in a democracy.
He said although Lawan has not approached him over the issue personally, some persons have been mounting pressure on him.
Machina denied being sponsored by the Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni, noting that he was duly elected by delegates despite being the sole candidate.
He said party officials from national secretariat, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials and security operatives were present during the primaries where he clinched the ticket.