Buhari approves suspension of Adamawa REC

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Hudu Yunusa Ari.

Ari will remain suspended pending when the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, concludes investigations into his illegal declaration of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Aishatu Dahiru Binani as the winner of the Adamawa State governorship election.

Buhari also confirmed that the Adamawa State Police Commissioner, Directorate of State Services (DSS) officials, and their counterparts from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who aided Ari’s declaration would be investigated alongside the suspended INEC official.

The President ordered the Director-General of the DSS and Commandant-General of the NSCDC to probe their officials who were involved in the illegal act.

They will be prosecuted if found liable, said a statement signed by the Director of Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey, on Thursday, April 20.

“The President has directed investigation by the IGP, Director-General of the Department of State Services, and the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, of the role of their officers in aiding and abetting the conduct/actions of Yunusa-Ari, and if found culpable, appropriate disciplinary actions should be meted out to them,” part of the statement read.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), whose candidate and incumbent Governor Ahmadu Fintiri was leading in the results already announced by the electoral body, protested the declaration of the APC flagbearer as the winner of the Adamawa poll.

The suspended REC illegally declared the winner while the collation of results had yet to conclude. According to Electoral Act (2022), the Returning Officer for the election, rather than the REC, has the power to declare the winner of an election.

Fintiri had the highest number of votes cast in the governorship election held on March 18, but some votes were cancelled, and the election could not hold in some parts of the state, forcing INEC to declare the exercise inconclusive.

Fintiri polled 421,524, while Binani secured 390, 275 in the March 18 election.

The incumbent governor won 13 of Adamawa’s 21 local government areas, while Binani won eight LGAs in the first round of the exercise on March 18.

Similarly, Fintiri was leading in the supplementary votes counted in 10 out of the 20 local government areas before the REC made his pronouncement.

The ICIR reported how the INEC headquarters in Abuja summoned Ari minutes after he declared Binani the winner.

The Commission also invited its other staff involved in the declaration to Abuja and consequently suspended the collation of results of the supplementary poll.

INEC eventually declared Fintiri the winner on Tuesday, April 18, after polling 430,861 votes to beat Binani, who got 398,788 votes.

The ICIR reported how the PDP had called for Ari’s removal over alleged malpractices during the elections in the state.

Many Nigerians reacted to the bizarre incident in the North-East state, where the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, hails from, and described the declaration by the REC as the height of the shortcomings of the 2023 elections.

Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's the ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022. Contact him via email @ mfatunmole@icirnigeria.org.

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