The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday directed the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Adamawa state, Mr. Hudu Yunusa Ari Esq. to stay away from the Commission’s office in Adamawa. A memo signed by the Secretary to the Commission Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony marked INEC/SEC/442/V.11 dated 17th April,2023 said the directive is with immediate effect and
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday directed the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Adamawa state, Mr. Hudu Yunusa Ari Esq. to stay away from the Commission’s office in Adamawa.
A memo signed by the Secretary to the Commission Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony marked INEC/SEC/442/V.11 dated 17th April,2023 said the directive is with immediate effect and until further notice.
The two paragraphs memo directed the Administrative Secretary of the Commission in Adamawa state to take full charge of INEC, Adamawa state with immediate effect.
Mr. Ari becomes the second REC to be so relieved of their positions in the last three and a half years in the Commission. In August 2019, the Commission sacked it’s REC in Cross Rivers state.
Dr. Frankland Briyai, the REC in Cross Rivers state was ignominiously kicked out of the Commission when he used the Commission’s facility to announce his resignation and intention to join a political party and contest the Bayelsa state Governorship election.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Mr. Festus Okoye Esq. who spoke with the media then said Dr. Britain did not resign his appointment before declaring to join a political party. In addition, he said the Commission does not tolerate politicians using it’s facilities for political activities.
Mr Ari fell on the wrong side of the Electoral Act and INEC Guidelines on Elections when on Sunday instead of the State Returning Officer to announce and declare the winner of the state supplementary election, he grabbed the microphone and declared the winner.
This action forced the INEC National Headquarters to again suspended the Adamawa state governorship electioneering process, declaring the pronouncement of Mr Ari “null, void, and of no effect” due to the contravention of the electoral laws.
Adamawa state was thrown into a state of confusion and near anarchy in the early hours of Sunday, when Mr Ari, declared the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed, also known as Binani winner of the Adamawa governorship election, without giving a breakdown of the results.
This is contrary to the Sections 64 & 65 of the Electoral Act 2022 and the established standard practice where the State Returning Officer is expected to announce the results and declare a winner.
The Independent National Electoral Commission intervened in the state of confusion by suspending the collation of results and summoning everyone involved in the process including the REC to Abuja.
In a statement by the National Commissioner, for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, INEC stated that “the action of the REC is a usurpation of the power of the Returning Officer. It is null, void, and of no effect.
Consequently, the collation of the results of the supplementary election is hereby suspended”.
According to multiple reports, the Returning Officer, Professor Mohammed Mele had suspended the collation of results of the supplementary election till 11 am on Sunday. But while the break was still on, the REC, sneaked into the collation center around 9 am to declare the APC candidate the winner of the poll while the commission was yet to receive official results from some local governments out of the 69 polling units where the election was conducted.
The REC who made the declaration in the company of the state commissioner of police, while some election observers and party agents were not on the ground, was confronted by some angry people, who attempted to grab his cloth at the collation center.
Though INEC had nullified the declaration made by the Adamawa state REC, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani also made an acceptance speech, where she described her pronouncement as the governor-elect of the state as the fulfillment of the ‘tenet of democracy’.
In her speech, she also said that her emergence will further broaden political participation in the country. “By the will of the people and the will of the Almighty, I happened to emerge as the winner. I will Insha Allah serve as the Governor of all the people of Adamawa state irrespective of any faith, ethnic or political affiliation. Our administration shall be free and fair. You have made history by electing the first female governor in our country, Nigeria. This will no doubt broaden political participation by encouraging our daughters, sisters, aunties, mothers, and indeed the girl child”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the incumbent governor had summarily rejected the declaration by Mr. Ari, the state REC.
Most Nigerians had the impression that the Adamawa state REC was summoned to appear before a panel in Abuja on Monday, but feelers from INEC headquarters revealed that the embattled official was kilometers away from Abuja, perhaps this informed the memo from the Secretary to the Commission directing Mr. Hudu Ari to stay away from office immediately until further notice.