The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barrister Hudu Yunusa, shocked the nation on Sunday when he usurped the power of the Returning Officer to declare Senator Aisha Dahiru, popularly known as Binani, the winner of the Adamawa State gubernatorial election. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, denounced the purported declaration of Binani as the winner, insisting it was null, void and of no effect. The PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, demanded that the controversial REC and other parties involved in the voided declaration should be arrested and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to anti-democratic forces. The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has described the action of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Adamawa State, Barr. Hudu Yunusa Ari, as an insult to the Electoral Act and to the Commission.
The Executive Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, noted that the REC had illegally taken over the duties of the Returning Officer, adding that the action was capable of “provoking the breakdown of law and order in the state”. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, a former Director, Voter Education and Publicity at INEC, stated that Yunusa ought to face a sort of ‘inquisition’. In response, INEC said it would write the Inspector-General of Police, Baba Ahmed, to investigate and prosecute Yunusa Ari. The Commission also decided to write the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, to brief President Muhammadu Buhari about the “unwholesome behaviour” of the REC. The Adamawa gubernatorial election has been marred by controversy, with Binani Binani seeking an order to stop the electoral Commission from voiding the declaration that named her the state’s governor-elect.
Fintiri had expressed confidence he would be re-elected despite the controversy surrounding the election, but the outcome of the polls ended in Fintiri’s favour. Olu Omotayo, a legal expert, said INEC had the power to revert what the REC did, though he would not preempt the court on the ex-parte motion filed before it on the matter. It is left to be seen the actions the security agencies would take against the now suspended REC.