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INEC nullifies Binani’s victory in Adamawa

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has nullified the declaration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Senator Aishatu Dahiru, as the winner of the Adamawa State governorship election by the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Hudu Yunusa-Ari. The REC had declared Binani as the winner of the governorship election, despite trailing behind Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Governor Fintiri had established a lead margin of 31,249 votes before the supplementary election, and after the supplementary poll, Fintiri won in Demsa, Lamurde, Jada, Ganye, Song, Maiha, Hong, and Shelleng, while Binani won only in Yola North and Yola South.

The declaration of Binani generated tension across Adamawa State on Sunday. The PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, called for the immediate arrest of Yunusa-Ari. The REC may face imprisonment for 36 months on conviction. The commission has invited Yunusa-Ari to Abuja, where he is expected to be quizzed over his conduct.

INEC, in a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the declaration by the REC was null and void as it was a “usurpation of the power of the returning officer.” The commission has suspended the collation of the result of the supplementary election held on 15th April 2023. The REC and all other officials involved in the process have been directed to report immediately to INEC headquarters in Abuja.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Sunday, the PDP spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, asked INEC to declare Fintiri the winner of the election “because the results so far showed that he won clean and clear.” Ologunagba also called on the leadership of INEC to direct the returning officer to conclude the collation, announce the results from the polling units and declare Fintiri as the winner, having scored the majority of lawful votes cast.

Meanwhile, the commission has expressed deep concern over the harassment of two of its National Commissioners deployed to the state to ensure a peaceful and credible supplementary election. It urged the security agencies to provide them with necessary security and ensure that nothing untoward befalls them. The two National Commissioners, the Returning Officer, and other staff of the commission must be allowed to perform their duties without let or hindrance. The commission warned that it would not condone any act of lawlessness or brigandage targeted at its officials or the process.

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