THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has resolved to write the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, for immediate arrest and prosecution of its Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Hudu Yunusa Ari.
The REC has been suspended for “illegally” declaring a winner in the Adamawa State governorship election.
The decision to write the IGP was taken at a meeting of INEC top hierarchy in Abuja on Tuesday, April 18.
In a statement released after the meeting, the Commission said it would brief President Muhammadu Buhari on the REC’s conduct.
The Commission also disclosed that the Returning Officer would determine when the collation of the result of the Adamawa State governorship election would resume.
The statement read:” At its meeting today, 18th April 2023, the Commission discussed matters arising from the Adamawa Governorship election and decided to:
“1. Write to the Inspector-General of Police for the immediate investigation and possible prosecution of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Adamawa State, Barr. Hudu Yunusa Ari.
“2. Request the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to draw the attention of the appointing authority to the unwholesome behaviour of the REC for further action.
“3. The collation process shall resume at a time to be determined by the Returning Officer.”
On Monday, April 17, The ICIR reported how the Commission suspended the REC from office after he illegally declared the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Aisha Dahiru (Binani), the winner of the election concluded through a supplementary poll on Saturday, April 15.
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.
Ari declared Dahiru 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 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.
The ICIR reports that Adamawa State is the only remaining state that is yet to have a governor-elect in all states where the governorship election took place on March 18 across Nigeria.
The ICIR reported how the PDP had repeatedly called for Ari’s removal over alleged malpractices during the elections in the state.
Many Nigerians have reacted to the bizarre incident in the North-East state, where the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, hails from.
Many have described the declaration by the REC as the height of the shortcomings of the 2023 elections.
The ICIR reports that while INEC continues the collation process, Binani has approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the Commission from halting her ‘victory.’
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