By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Yobe North Senatorial District primaries, Bashir Sheriff Machina, has insisted that he won’t step down for the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, adding that he may become the next Senate President.
In an interview with Leadership Newspaper, Machina said he had been approached by some people to step down for Lawan, emphasising that he would not.
Lawan had contested the APC presidential ticket but lost to former Lagos State Governor and national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Lawan had been representing Yobe North Senatorial District at the National Assembly for 15 years.
In the interview, Machina, who was first elected a federal lawmaker in 1990, said Lawan had no right to the ticket, saying he wanted to go into the National Assembly to improve upon hthe Senate President’a 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,” he said.
He insisted that he was still in the race and is not willing to relinquish the ticket.
“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.
“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 I must fill all the forms,” Machina said.
He added that if Lawan were serious about his legislative role, he would not have gone into the contest for the presidential ticket.
On whether he could be forced to relinquish the ticket, Machina said such cannot happen in a democracy.
He noted that although Lawan has not approached him over the issue personally, some persons have been mounting pressure on him.
Machina denied being sponsored by Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, stressing that he was duly elected by delegates despite being the sole candidate.
He said officials from the party’s national secretariat, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security operatives were present during the primaries where he clinched the ticket.