INEC declares Fintiri winner of Adamawa governorship election

Governor Ahmadu Fintiri

By Marvellous Nyang

After a series of political intrigues that delayed the process, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced Ahmadu Fintiri as the winner of the governorship election in Adamawa State.

The announcement was made on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at around 5:49 p.m. exactly a month after the initial March 18 governorship elections held across the country.

The incumbent Governor Fintiri emerged as the winner after a supplementary election generally described as a dramatic political interplay.

INEC said in the Saturday, April 15, 2023, rerun election, Fintiri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polled 9,337 votes to defeat Senator Aishatu ‘Binani’ Dahiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who polled 6,513 votes.

Summing the polls altogether, it gave Fintiri 430,861 winning votes, as his closest rival, Binani polled 398,738 total votes.

The Adamawa governorship election had earlier been declared inconclusive by INEC when it was first held last month after which a supplementary election was fixed for last Saturday.

After the election was held, the following day, on Sunday, as collation was underway, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Hudu Yunusa Ari, was faulted for “prematurely” declaring Binani as the winner, contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act, which stipulates that only the Returning Officer was empowered to announce the election results and declare the winner.

As stated in Section 25 of the Electoral Act, 2022, it empowers only the returning officer to announce the result and declare the winner of an election at the state collation centre in the case of the election of a governor of a state.

But, results had been declared for only 10 of the 20 local government areas (LGAs) in the supplementary poll, which indicated Fintiri was leading, having won in seven Local Government Areas (LGAs) next to Binani who won three.

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Irrespective of the condemnation of the announcement made by Ari, her declaration as the winner of the election was immediately acknowledged by the APC candidate, Binani, who instantly delivered her acceptance speech.

This action was later greeted by anger from irate opposition members who took to the streets and later assaulted an INEC national commissioner, whom they mistook for the erring REC.

Condemning the development, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Festus Okoye, said in a statement that,
“A former Vice Chancellor of Usman Dan Fodio University, a senior citizen was stripped naked and dragged. This commission will not allow that to stand.”

While he also urged the security agencies to unmask those behind that particular act, Okoye said, “They must be arrested, they must be investigated and they must be prosecuted. A national commissioner cannot be treated as if he or she is a common criminal.”

INEC also, in a swift move against the REC, responding to Binani’s declaration as the ‘winner’ of the Adamawa governorship election, nullified the pronouncement, saying, it is of no effect, while it summarily suspended the collation of results of the supplementary election in effect State.

INEC authorities also invited the REC, Returning Officer and all officials involved to report back to the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja with immediate effect, after it slammed the action of the Adamawa REC, saying it usurped the power of the Returning Officer.

“The attention of the Commission has been drawn to a purported declaration of a winner in the Adamawa Governorship election by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) even when the process has clearly not been concluded.

“The action of the Resident Electoral Commission is a usurpation of the power of the Returning Officer. It is null, void and of no effect. Consequently, the collation of results of the supplementary election is hereby suspended,” INEC said in a statement.