Machina, David Lyon, Maryam Shetty, Politicians Who Lost Out On The Eve Of Glory

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One of the interesting stories in the Bible is that of Moses and the people of Israel. According to Deuteronomy 32:52, God told Moses that he would see the land of promise but never be part of it. “For you shall see the land opposite you from a distance, but you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving to the children of Israel.”

This rings true for some Nigerian politicians who saw the glorious moment ahead, got prepared for it, but as the saying: “Man proposes, God disposes”, none of them enjoyed the moment. Call if fate, destiny, misfortune and you may be right. In this piece, we will highlight some politicians in this category.

MARYAM SHETTY

Maryam Shetty 1

Maryam Shettima, popularly known as Maryam Shetty, was among the second batch of President Bola Tinubu’s ministerial nominees.

A national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) support group, she graduated from Bayero University, Kano, where she studied Physiotherapy. She also has an MSc in Sports Physiotherapy from the University of East London.

Outrage trailed her nomination as some persons, especially on Facebook where she has over 240,000 followers, accused her appointment as being a result of her relationship with some prominent members in the government.

Days after the outrage, the president replaced her with Dr Mairiya Mahmud from Kano. The nominee had arrived at the National Assembly for what she thought was going to be her screening. Accompanied by some associates, the dropped nominee drove into the National Assembly Complex in a black SUV. She later left the parliament apparently disappointed.

MUKHTAR SHEHU IDRIS

Mukhtar Shehu Idris

Idris, APC gubernatorial candidate of the APC in Zamfara State in 2019. He had polled 67.41% of the total popular votes to defeat Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Bello Matawalle who got 23.89% of the total votes.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared  him winner of the exercise and plans were in top gear for the D-day when the Supreme Court nullified the elections of all the candidates of the APC in the polls.

The five-man panel led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, the apex court declared the first runners-up in the 2019 general elections in the state as the winners of all the posts earlier declared to have been won by the APC and its candidates.

The apex court, in its verdict, upheld the judgment of the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal to the effect that the APC did not conduct any valid primary election and as such had no candidates for any of the elections in the state.

The court said the votes polled by the APC candidates in the elections were wasted, adding that the party and the candidates with the second highest votes and the spread in the various elections were the valid winners.

With the judgment, the APC lost the governorship, national and state Assemblies elections conducted in Zamfara State to the opposition PDP.

DAVID LYON

David Lyon
David Lyon

In February 2020, the Supreme court sacked David Lyon less than 24 hours before his inauguration as governor of Bayelsa state. Lyon, candidate of the APC, was declared winner of the governorship election in the state in November 2019.

A panel of justices led by Mary Odili asked the INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Lyon and to re-issue another to the candidate with the second highest number of votes.

The decision of the apex court was in affirmation of the verdict of a federal high court disqualifying Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, Lyon’s running mate, for submitting forged credentials to INEC.

The supreme court held that the action of Degi-Eremienyo affected Lyon because both men ran on a joint ticket.

ABUBAKAR AUDU

Abubakar Audu
Late Abubakar Audu

In 2015, Abubakar Audu of the APC was leading then incumbent governor, Idris Wada of the PDP, by 41,353 votes. There was celebration in the APC camp as it was clear that Audu was coasting to victory, but while the results of the election were being collated, news filtered in that Audu had died. This created confusion and plunged the APC into crisis.

INEC, however, declared the election inconclusive as possible votes from the 91 canceled polling units (49,953) is higher than the margin between the two leading candidates.

Audu would have emerged winner after elections were held in the 91 polling units as the PDP candidate would have needed 100 per cent turnout and about all the votes for his party to emerge victor.

Eventually,  Yahaya Bello was selected as his replacement was sworn in the next year.

BASHIR SHERRIF MACHINA

Machina

Machina won unopposed during the APC senatorial primary in Yobe North in May 2022. Ex-Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who had been representing the constituency in the upper legislative chamber since 2003, had missed the primary because he was involved in the race for the ruling party’s presidential ticket.

Machina was reportedly asked to step down for Lawan but he insisted that he was the rightful candidate.

Amid the controversy, the APC submitted the senate president’s name to INEC as the candidate for Yobe North. The electoral commission subsequently refused to list any candidate for the district, citing the Electoral Act that a candidate could not contest primaries for different offices.

Machina had instituted a suit asking the court to declare him as the authentic senatorial candidate.

In September 2022, a federal high court in Damaturu, the Yobe capital, ordered the APC and INEC to recognise Machina as the candidate.

A month later, an Abuja court of appeal affirmed Machina’s election as the candidate of the APC for the Yobe north senatorial district.

Still not satisfied, the APC appealed the appellate court’s judgment.

The supreme court eventually affirmed Lawan as the ruling party’s senatorial candidate for district, fetching him not just the ticket but also the seat as Yobe is an APC stronghold. Had Machina won the battle with Lawan, he probably would have made it to the senate, where his opponent in the primary now represents the constituency.


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