Adamawa REC Under Fire, Faces INEC Panel Over Binani Declaration

Opposition parties and non-governmental organisations on Sunday took a swipe at the Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hudu Yunusa-Ari, for usurping the duties of the state governorship election returning officer.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had at 1 am on Sunday shifted the announcement of the state supplementary election results to 11 am after results from 11 out of 20 local government areas where reruns were held had been declared.

But before 11 am, the REC at 9 am came to the state INEC office in Yola, where the results were being collated and announced the All Progressives Congress candidate, Senator Aishatu Dahiru, popularly known as Binani as the winner of the governorship election.

Prior to her declaration, Binani was trailing behind Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party, who had established a margin of lead of 31,249 votes.

Before the supplementary poll, Fintiri polled 421, 524 votes ahead of Binani who got 390, 275 votes.

However, Fintiri could not be declared the winner of the March 18 governorship election by the state by the state returning officer, Professor Mohammed Mele, of the Department of English and Linguistics, University of Maiduguri, because the margin of lead did not exceed the number of cancelled votes in 69 polling units.

Fintiri leading

The results from the 10 councils as collated as of the time of filing this report showed Governor Fintiri adding to his lead of 31,249 with wins in Demsa, Lamurde, Jada, Ganye, Song, Maiha, Hong and Shelleng while Binani won only in Yola North and Yola South.

The REC’s action sparked anger across the country as the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, called for the immediate arrest of Yunusa-Ari

The PUNCH also learnt that the errant REC may face 36 months imprisonment on conviction.

The declaration of Binani which was annulled by the Independent National Electoral Commission generated tension across Adamawa State on Sunday.

But INEC in its statement nullifying Ari’s action asked Nigerians to disregard the pronouncement at the collation centre.

It said it summoned the REC and other officials, who usurped the duties of the returning officer to Abuja.

Newsmen learnt that the REC would appear before a committee of the commission led by the National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, today.

Asked to state when the REC would appear before the panel, a source close to the national chairman, “Immediately. He’s on the way. He will appear before the commission by Monday. He was summoned to the headquarters today and he will appear tomorrow.”

Declaration annulled

But the National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, Festus Okoye, who signed the statement on Sunday, noted that the declaration by the REC was null and void as the action of the REC was “usurpation of the power of the returning officer.”

The commission has also invited Yunusa-Ari to Abuja over his action where he is expected to be quizzed over his conduct.

The statement read, “The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission has been drawn to the purported declaration of a winner in the Adamawa State Governorship election by the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Hudu Yunusa-Ari.

“The action of the REC is a usurpation of the power of the Returning Officer and therefore null, void and of no effect. Consequently, the collation of the result of the supplementary election held yesterday 15th April 2023 is suspended forthwith.

“The REC for Adamawa State and all other officials involved in the process are hereby directed to report immediately to INEC headquarters in Abuja.

“Meanwhile, the Commission is deeply disturbed by the harassment of our two National Commissioners deployed to the State to ensure a peaceful and credible supplementary election.

“We urge the security agencies to provide them with the necessary security and ensure that nothing untoward befalls them. The two National Commissioners, the Returning Officer and other staff of the Commission must be allowed to perform their duties without let or hindrance.

“The Commission will not condone any act of lawlessness or brigandage targeted at our officials or the process.”

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Sunday, the PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, asked INEC to declare Fintiri the winner of the election “because the results so far showed that he won clean and clear.”

Speaking on the action of the REC, he said, “It is even more absurd that the Adamawa State REC did not only usurp the powers of the Returning Officer but attempted to declare a winner without figures in reckless violation of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2022, the Independent National Electoral Commission Guidelines as well as the sensibility of the people of Adamawa State.”

Continuing, Ologunagba called on the leadership of INEC to immediately direct the returning officer to conclude the collation, announce the results from the polling units and declare Fintiri as the winner, having scored the majority of lawful votes cast.

Check Also

Matawalle Govt’s N2.79bn Vehicles Are Not In Govt House – Zamfara Gov, Lawal

Zamfara State Governor Dauda Lawal has alleged that his predecessor Bello Matawalle spent N2,794,337,500 on …

Kano Gov Leads Demolition Of Building Allegedly Privatised By Ganduje Govt

The Kano State Government has commenced the demolition of illegal buildings as Governor Abba Kabir …

Tinubu Appoints Akume SGF, Gbajabiamila, Chief of Staff, Hadejia, DCoS

President Bola Tinubu has announced the appointment of the former Benue State Governor, Senator George …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *