Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) has suspended the collation of results in Adamawa State Governorship supplementary election till further notice.
The suspension follows interference with the process by the Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC Hudu Yunusa-Ari.
In a statement signed by INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, INEC says the action of the REC, Hudu Yunusa-Ari to announce Aishatu Ahmed Binani of APC winner of Governorship election is “usurpation of the power of the Returning Officer”. The statement, therefore, declares the purported announcement of a winner in the election “null, void and of no effect.
INEC confirms that the collation of results from the Adamawa State Governorship supplementary election had “clearly not been concluded” when the REC purportedly declared one of the candidate’s winners.
The Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hudu Yunusa-Ari has been invited to the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja immediately.
There was confusion after the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hudu Yunusa-Ari assumed the role of the Returning Officer to announce Aishatu Ahmed Binani of the All Progressives Congress, APC winner of the election.
Yunusa-Ari, who had been reportedly asked to step aside as Resident Electoral Commissioner due to controversies that trailed his conduct in the March 18 election, suddenly turned up at the collation centre on Sunday morning at about 9 am to announce APC’s Aishatu Ahmed Binani as winner.
The INEC Returning Officer for the election is Professor Mohammed Mele who was in charge of the process of collation at the conclusion of the supplementary election on Saturday, along with two supervising INEC National Commissioners.
Only results from supplementary elections in 10 local government areas were announced before the exercise was adjourned at about 1 am on Sunday by the Returning Officer to resume again by 11 am.
However, by the time journalists arrived at the state collation centre, they were informed that the REC had come at about 9 am to announce a winner, amid protests by party agents who challenged his powers to usurp the position of the Returning Officer.
As of the time of filing this report, the Returning Officer Professor Mohammed Mele and the two supervising National Commissioners are yet to arrive at the Collation Centre and could not be reached.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up as tension is already high in the area.