Nigerians need timely executive and administrative directives from President Muhammadu Buhari and INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu on Bashir Machina's right to potentially work in his rightful place in the Nigeria senate or the United Nations should step in to protect Machina.
On humanitarian grounds, he is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set out in the United Nations Declaration. Like all human beings, Machina has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
Machina recently won a major senatorial primary race in Nigeria.
Nigerians are saying that Machina has a life of dignity, respect, and equality.
President Buhari can act in Machina’s case as he has the inherent authority to protect Machina’s right to work and choice of employment.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document in the history of human rights, has protections for victims like Machina. Article 13 says everyone has the right to freedom of movement. Article 21, says everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in their country. Article 23 says everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
During the senatorial primary election in Yobe north district, on May 28, 2022, Machina stated, "I was recently elected on the day of the election held in Gashua by our party in the presence of party delegates, national representatives of our party, security officials, representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission and numerous other non-governmental observers." “I scored 289 votes. Ballots were cast transparently and openly, going by the guidelines of the National Assembly elections as stipulated by the electoral commission. I emerged the winner out of a total of 300 voters, out of which I got 289 votes. "
Now there is a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the report of the INEC team sent to monitor the primary election, signed by Omale Samuel and dated May 28, 2022. The primaries were conducted by INEC returning officer, Alh. Danjuma Isa Munga.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairman, Adamu Abdullahi, and his working committee, with impunity, replaced Machina’s name with that of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and sent it to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
As noted by Pelumi Olajengbesi, an Abuja-based human rights lawyer, the replacement of the name of Bashir Machina, the Yobe North Senatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) with that of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, is unconstitutional and fraudulent.
It is a known fact that Lawan, actively participated in the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Primary election but lost to the flagbearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Lawan, having failed to secure the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket, suddenly and by any means possible, authoritatively made moves to return to the Senate to continue to represent the people of Yobe North Senatorial District.
Machina a once highly experienced law maker, as part of his fundamental rights, insisted that he wouldn't cede his mandate to anyone, as he had duly won the senatorial primary.
INEC is claiming that it cannot reject the names of candidates sent by political parties even if the individual did not compete in the INEC-monitored primaries, which many Nigerians see as clearly fraudulent and unconstitutional. In Machina’s words, "I formally wrote a letter to the party, reiterating and affirming my position that I am still the candidate.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that the ruling All Progressives Congress has no candidate in Yobe North even when INEC has confirmed that the senatorial primary in Yobe North senatorial district was rightfully won by Machina. Incredible.
President Buhari can issue a directive that Machina, as the declared winner by INEC, should be publicly announced and filled in as the occupying APC senatorial candidate for the Yobe North district in order to protect his right to a published directive from the President.
The INEC chairman, Yakubu, can openly give a directive to provide guidance to the voters of the senatorial election results and the winner.
Buhari and Yakubu can show their humanity to democratic causes by removing Machina from his current nightmarish situation, or Nigerians will think that powerful men are protecting each other, a very dangerous situation that unfairly threatens the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed like Machina. The Buhari administration does not need to wait for a court judge to protect Machina from powerful interests, particularly in a judiciary where some judges are subordinated or subject to political pressure and meddling from the powerful.
In the face of continued indifference and silence from this administration, it is then the duty of the United Nations to protect individuals like Bachina and others in the same victimized situations regarding human rights abuses like stealing one's rightful winning.
I conclude by asking the United Nations and the good people of the world to hear Machina in his own words, "I am the elected candidate; I did not withdraw for anybody and will not withdraw because, as a matter of right, that is the mandate given to me by the members of our great party, the delegates...So surreptitiously removing my name, I consider it very undemocratic, illegal...and needs to be corrected." The world is watching.
Prof. Oshodi wrote in via [email protected]