THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had, at least, twice called for the sack of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Adawama State over alleged infractions before he illegally announced the governorship election winner for the state on Sunday, April 16.
In a statement signed by the party’s spokesperson, Debo Ologunagba, on Tuesday, April 4, the party accused the REC of complicity in alleged plots to influence the election outcome.
Ologunagba stated, “From credible information available to our party, INEC is stoking a breakdown of law and order in Adamawa State with the continued stay in office of Mallam Hudu Yunusa Ari as Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in spite of his alleged complicity in the plots to manipulate the outcome of the governorship election in the state, even with PDP’s clear lead of 31,299 lawful votes in the election.
“It is provocative and unacceptable that INEC retained Mallam Yunusa Ari to conduct the April 15, 2023 governorship re-run election despite being reportedly caught on tape directing the Electoral Officer of Fufore Local Government Area of Adamawa State in Hausa language to alter election results in favour of the defeated governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Aisha Binani.”
The party claimed the REC’s continued stay in office in the face of a widespread outcry from people in the state amounted to pushing the people to the wall and daring them to do their worst.
The PDP had made a similar call for Ari’s removal on March 27, a few days after INEC declared the governorship election in the state inconclusive.
At a press conference, the party called for the REC’s disengagement and prosecution over the allegation that he worked with the APC and its candidate, Aisha Dahiru (Binani), to declare the election result in her favour.
Ologunagba said, “The PDP has evidence of reported complicity of the Adamawa State REC Mallam Hudu Yunusa Ari, in which he was allegedly caught on tape directing the Electoral Officer of Fufore Local Government Area in the Hausa Language to alter results in favour of the APC governorship candidate.
“This action by the Adamawa REC is reprehensible, sacrilegious, profane and unbecoming of an Electoral Officer. INEC should, therefore, immediately relieve Mallam Hudu Yunusa Ari as the State Resident Electoral Commissioner and hand him over to the police for a thorough investigation and prosecution.”
The PDP made several other allegations over plots to manipulate the election result in the APC’s favour.
Shortly after Ari illegally announced Dahiru winner of the election on Sunday, April 16, the PDP issued another statement condemning his action and restating its call for his arrest and prosecution.
The party argued that it was absurd that the REC not only usurped the powers of the Returning Officer but attempted to declare a winner without figures in “reckless” violation of the provisions of the country’s constitution and the Electoral Act, 2022.
It said, “This reprehensible criminal conduct of the Adamawa State REC confirms the earlier alarms by the PDP, which demanded his immediate removal from Adamawa State following evidence of his complicity and being compromised by the APC and its candidate to manipulate the election in their favour, notwithstanding the votes by the people of Adamawa State.
“Mallam Yunusa Ari’s action is subversive and calculated to cause crisis in Adamawa State, destabilise our democracy and peaceful co-existence as a nation. We call on the Inspector General of Police to immediately arrest Mallam Yunusa Ari and make him face the full wrath of the law for his conduct.”
While acknowledging INEC headquarters’ declaration that the REC’s pronouncement was a nullity, the PDP called for a prompt conclusion of the vote count and declaration of its candidate, the incumbent governor in the state, Ahmadu Fintiri, whom it said was leading, the election winner.
The ICIR reported how the INEC described Ari’s declaration as a usurpation of the duty of its returning officer in the state and consequently summoned the REC and its other affected staff to Abuja.
The Commission also suspended the results collation in the state.