The Yobe North Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bashir Machina, said he is not stepping down for the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who currently occupies the seat.
Machina, who insisted that Lawan did not have a plan to return to the Senate, said the senator would not have contested the party’s presidential primary if he had the ambition of returning to the Senate.
Lawan had contested APC’s presidential ticket and lost to former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed, at the primary.
There are reports that Lawan is now seeking a transfer of the senatorial ticket secured by Machina to him to return to the Senate.
Speaking on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television on Wednesday, Machina said, “The pressure is more or less speculative. There wasn’t any clear-cut person or message directly that says I should step down but from the headquarters of my party (APC), recently I was informed that if I was still in the race, I should write formally to inform the party that I am.”
He confirmed that the letter that trended online was his response to the request from an unnamed caller from the national headquarters of the APC.
“I formally wrote a letter to the party, reiterating and affirming my position, that I am still the candidate; that I did not withdraw, and I am not withdrawing, and I’m in the race in the event that anybody is contemplating or doubting that there is any move,” he said.
When asked if the leadership of the APC asked him to step down for Lawan, Machina said, “No, I won’t step down because Ahmad Lawan did not contest for the Senate. Of course, it is a known fact that Ahmad Lawan contested for president and lost. And when I contested for Senate, Lawan did not participate (in the primary) or did not contest (for Senate). So, I don’t think that may be in any way an issue.”
When asked what he would do if the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), asked him to, Machina said the APC would not repeat the undemocratic tendencies in other parties for which the ruling party was created to end.
The candidate also stated that he is senior to Lawan by legislative ranking as he was in the House of Representatives in the defunct Third Republic while Lawan joined the National Assembly in the Fourth Republic.