Adamawa poll: Police arrest suspended REC

THE Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has apprehended the suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Adamawa State, Hudu Ari, over his conduct during the governorship supplementary election in the state.

The ICIR had reported that Ari was suspended by INEC after he illegally declared the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Aishatu Dahiru Binani as the winner of the Adamawa State governorship election on April 16.

The embattled REC made the announcement while the collation of results was still going on, with incumbent governor and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Ahmadu Fintiri leading in number of votes counted.

The ICIR also, stated that the Electoral Act (2022) only empowered the Returning Officer for the election to declare the winner of an election rather than the REC

A statement released on Tuesday, May 2 signed by the Force spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi confirmed that Ari is currently being held in police custody.

Adejobi stated that Ari was arrested by the Police Election Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Team in Abuja.

The suspended REC is undergoing interrogation as part of efforts to ascertain the motives behind his actions during the supplementary elections in Adamawa State.

Meanwhile, other officials and individuals suspected to be involved in the saga are being investigated by the team, the statement said.

The Police spokesperson reiterated the Inspector-General’s commitment to investigate and prosecute every individual involved and indicted in accordance with the provision of the Constitution.

Adejobi assured that all those found to be involved in the saga would be brought to justice.

Meanwhile, The ICIR reported that the suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) said he acted according to the provision of the law during the Adamawa April 15 supplementary election.

Ari made this pronouncement in a letter addressed to the Inspector-General of Police, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS).

He explained that his role in the controversial declaration of the governorship election was to avert the impending danger posed by delay in announcing the results.

According to Ari, “The results brought by the presiding officers from the 69 polling units, which he did not sign, differed from those uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal.”

He further alleged that he was threatened by contesting candidates, and his residential home was surrounded by policemen from the Government House.

“It was based on this that I compiled all the polling unit results and declared the winner of the election based on the highest number of valid votes scored by the candidate of the APC.

“I had the breakdown of the valid votes scored by the two leading candidates in the supplementary election, using the results from the polling units as collated into all relevant forms EC8B, C, D and E respectively by properly and legally appointed and recognised collation officers and my humble self as the Adamawa State Chief Collation Officer and Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC),” Ari added.

    Before his arrest on Tuesday, May 2, INEC had said it was not aware of the suspended REC’s whereabouts.

    The Chairman of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, who made the disclosure on April 21, said Ari had stopped communicating with the Commission, ignoring official directives.

    “We don’t know where he is because, after this particular incident, the Commission wrote him and also called him on the phone. He never returned any of the calls, he never answered any of the calls.

    “We asked him to report to the Commission on Sunday, we didn’t see him, we asked him to report on Monday we didn’t see him. So up till this moment, he has not reported and we don’t know his whereabouts.”

    Stories with punches holding the powerful accountable. His determination to speak out against corruption and influence the conversation in Nigeria, the surrounding region and the continent inspires him.

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