THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has summoned to Abuja its Resident Commissioner in Adamawa State, Hudu Yunus Ari, a professor, who declared Aishat Dahiru, popularly known as Binani, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the supplementary governorship election in the state.
Ari had today declared Binani governor-elect midway into collation of results of the supplementary election, which was held on Saturday, April 16, instead of the INEC Returning Officer empowered by the Electoral Act (2022) to make such a pronouncement.
Ari announced that Binani defeated the incumbent governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was leading before the supplementary election.
PDP members in the state were protesting Binani’s declaration as the winner, and some pockets of violence had erupted in the state before INEC issued a statement condemning its REC’s action.
Governor 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.
Fintiri 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.
In a statement signed by its National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, a lawyer, INEC stated that the REC’s action, carried out when the process had yet to conclude, was an usurpation of the power of the Returning Officer.
“The declaration of Binani as the election winner is null, void and of no effect. Consequently, the collation of results of the supplementary election is hereby suspended.
“The REC, Returning Officer and all involved are hereby invited to the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja immediately. Detailed statement to follow shortly,” the commission stated.