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PROFILE: Machina, Buni’s former boss, who fought Lawan to standstill

Bashir Sherrif Machina was first elected into the House of Representatives in 1992. The lawmaker, who was then in his 20s, represented Karasuwa, Nguru, Machina,…

Bashir Sherrif Machina was elected into the House of Representatives in 1992. The lawmaker, who was then in his 20s, represented Karasuwa, Nguru, Machina, Yusufari federal constituency of Yobe State under the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Following military interregnum, their tenures ended abruptly.

Seven years later, Senate President Lawan who represented Bade/Jakusko of Yobe got elected into the lower chamber of the National Assembly. Lawan was reelected once more before he finally found his way to the senate.

From the look of things, Lawan is on his way out while Machina is warming up to take his seat. As one of the landlords at the National Assembly, Lawan had held sway since 1999, and some politicians eyeing the seat can not wait for his exit from the chamber.

The age-long proverb, “Man who chases two rabbits, catches neither”, best describes Lawan’s current situation. He is on the verge of not returning to the National Assembly because of the shot he gave the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Amid the pre-primary tension, the National Chairman of APC, Abdullahi Adamu, had announced Lawan as the consensus presidential candidate for the party. But 13 APC governors from the Northern region pulled the rug from his feet, by declaring their support for a southern aspirant to fly the APC ticket.

The former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, eventually won at the primary polling 1,271 votes to defeat 13 others in the race, including Lawan who came distant fourth with 152 votes.

Unsure of clinching the APC presidential ticket, Lawan had equally purchased the senatorial nomination form. The senatorial ticket was meant to come as a ‘consolation prize’ upon losing the presidential ticket.

Amid horse-trading for the presidential ticket, the APC senatorial primary was conducted with Machina winning the ticket.

In the primary, Machina, who was the sole candidate, got 289 votes.

Machina, Buni’s Confidant, Clinging To Senatorial Ticket

In what appears to be a double-jeopardy for the Senate President, Machina held on to the senatorial ticket despite intense pressure.

The immediate past chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), is said to be a confidant and loyalist of the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni. During his time at the National Assembly, Buni served as a councillor. By the time Machina was appointed National Auditor of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Buni was the chairman of ACN in Yobe. The duo later defected to the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), one of the legacy parties of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). But as fate would have it, Buni’s career overshot his own, but the politicians did not allow anything come between them and they have remained close since then.

At the age of 26, Machina as a young legislator, was appointed to serve as sub-committee chairman of the House Committee on Fertilizer Procurement and Distribution.

He was said to have been mentored by former Secretary to the Government of Federation, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe. He later joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and served as its deputy national auditor from 2002 to 2006.

Under Buni as the then Chairman of the APC Extraordinary Convention Committee, Machina was saddled with another responsibility as chairman APC National Assembly Elections Screening Committee in Ogun state.

In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him chairman Governing Board of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), a position he held until March 2022.

‘I WON’T STEP DOWN FOR LAWAN’

Amid pressure on him to relinquish the ticket, Machina insisted he would not step down for Lawan as the APC Senatorial candidate for Yobe North.

Speaking with Daily Trust, Machina said he has been approached by some people to relinquish the ticket, but that he would not.

The candidate said he was not opposed by any senatorial hopeful for the ticket because “I was the one that was qualified”.

“As far as I’m concerned, I contested for the Yobe north senatorial ticket and I won the election,” the candidate said. I was confirmed elected because there were other contestants but I was the one that was qualified. I happened to be unopposed.

“I am still the candidate; I have not withdrawn and I will not withdraw for anybody. I am being approached by some persons but I will not withdraw, Insha Allah.”

LAWAN: AS POLITICIANS, IT IS NEVER OVER UNTIL IT IS OVER

When the Senate reconvened after a break, Lawan counseled his colleagues who lost out at the primaries to take the development in good faith.

He, however, said “as politicians, it is never over until It is over.”

“Some of us participated in the congresses for their Senatorial Districts, some of our colleagues went for governorship of their states, and four of us went for the presidency of our great country. “We have recorded different results from those activities, but as politicians, it is never over until It is over.

“We should continue to support the political system that we believe in. Those of our colleagues who have recorded successes, we wish them more successes in the general elections,” he said.

But on Thursday, Lawan accepted his “second loss” in good faith as he had counseled his fellow senators.

Editor’s note: Some minor changes were made to this piece that was first published in June