By Lami Ibrahim
Outgoing Senator from Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has mocked outgoing Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on the circumstances surrounding his return to the Senate without duly participating in the All Progressives Congress’ primary elections.
Okorocha, who represented the Imo West Federal Constituency, said this during the valedictory session of the 9th Senate.
“I did not contest for the Senate this period. I only contested for the office of the president. You are a very smart politician. How you came back to the Senate is another chapter in our political history that we need to discuss.
“I was there in the field with you running for President, I never knew how you were able to meander, leaving some of us. Next time you must teach me how to do that,” Okorocha told Lawan at the session.
Recall that there had been controversy over the APC Yobe North Senatorial ticket between duly elected Bashir Machina and Lawan.
Machina, at a primary election organised by the party in May 2022, won unopposed as the Senate President who was pursuing his presidential ambition at that time did not participate in the primary election, but lost to former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu.
However, rather than submit the name of the elected candidate, Machina, the ruling APC submitted the name of the senate president to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a move that led to the deliberate omission of their names from the published particulars of candidates late June 2022.
To clarify the brewing controversy around the seat, INEC, on at least two different occasions, said it rejected the senate president’s name because he had not been validly nominated for the senatorial seat, and urged the duo to resolve their issues internally or seek redress in court.
Following his loss of the case at Court of Appeal in November 2022, Lawan filed an appeal at the Supreme Court, which affirmed him as the party’s candidate.
Meanwhile, in response to Okorocha’s mockery, Lawan claimed that his constituents and party stakeholders had appealed on his behalf up to the Supreme Court.
“I didn’t even appeal the judgement that did not give me the contest. The party and the stakeholders appealed on my behalf up to the Supreme Court, so there is nothing critical or remarkable. In fact, you have nothing to learn from it,” Lawan said.