Home Top Stories Adamawa Returning Officer Disappeared, Binani’s Campaign Coordinator Defends Ari

Adamawa Returning Officer Disappeared, Binani’s Campaign Coordinator Defends Ari


Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Adamawa State, Hudu Yunusa Ari declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Aishatu ‘Binani’ Dahiru as “winner” of the governorship election in the state because the Returning Officer, Mohammed Mele “disappeared” when collation resumed on April 16, 2023.

This was the submission of an APC chieftain and the Coordinator of the Binani Campaign Council, Vrati Nzonzo on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Tuesday.

“The Returning Officer disappeared,” Nzonzo said on the live programme, defending the action of Ari who usurped the constitutional function of the returning officer.

“As far as I am concerned, they’ve been there all along, may be through the night,” he said, alleging that Mele disappeared when collation resumed at 11am on April 16, 2023.

However, contrary to Nzonzo’s claim, the collation of the April 15, 2023 supplementary election in the North-East state was postponed to 11am the following day but in a twist, Ari resumed collation around 9am without the collation officer who was legally mandated with such duty. Ari would later announced Binani as the “winner” of the poll while collation of results was yet to be completed.

INEC subsequently nullified the declaration by Ari, suspended collation of results and barred him from office. The electoral body relied on Section 25 (2)(f) of the Electoral Act 2022 to take its decision. The section provided that “the returning officer shall announce the result and declare the winner of the election at State Collation Centre in the case of election of a Governor of a state”.

INEC would later resume collation on April 18, and at the end of the entire exercise, said the incumbent, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, who is also the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 430,861 votes, to defeat Binani who got 398,738 votes. INEC also declared Fintiri as the winner of the keenly contested and dramatic poll.

Asked whether Ari’s action was wrong, Nzonzo said, “It is not wrong. On the premise that he doesn’t want to allow a vacuum in the state, results must be announced.”

He added, “As far as I am concerned, it’s okay. If Mr Hudu announced the election as inconclusive, why won’t he announce the winner of the election?

“When he announced the first election as inconclusive, nobody said anything. Mr Festus Okoye was not on national television to condemn it but when on the second turn, he announced distinguished Senator Aishatu Binani as the winner of the election, all hell let loose.”

Binani Being Victimised’

The campaign coordinator further said Binani is being “victimised” because she is a woman, adding that the courts will decide the matter.

“As far as we are concerned, there seems to be a very biased position taken against our candidate. And it’s unfortunate.

“As far as we are concerned, she is being witchhunted, and she is being drown using the media and other individuals that are out there to victimise her, may be because she is a woman. We are proud of her and her achievement.

“Mr Hudu has already made it clear to the best of my knowledge that considering the circumstances he found himself at that moment, he had to take the responsibility and act.”

On Ari, whom the security agents have been mandated to arrest and prosecute, the APC chieftain said his party does not know the whereabouts of the suspended REC.


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