ADAMAWA GUBER CRISIS: INEC DECLARES FINTIRI WINNER AT LAST
THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, declared Adamawa State governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, as the winner of the state governorship election, with the governor declaring that the state, of Adamawa, was the real winner of the election.
Fintiri also pledged to be fair to all.
His declaration by the electoral commission put paid to the controversies that had trailed the election since the first balloting on March 18, 2023.
Mele Lamido, the returning officer for the Adamawa governorship election, declared Fintiri as the winner after the collation of the supplementary election results.
The final results showed that Governor Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, scored 430,861 votes to beat Aisha Dahiru Ahmed (Binani) of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who got 398,788 votes.
The returning officer also disclosed that the total votes cast were 869,106 while total valid votes were 853,819. Rejected votes were 15,287.
Before Fintiri’s declaration, the commission met, in Abuja, on the suspended election and resolved to write the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba Alkali, to investigate the Adamawa Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Mr Hudu Yunusa-Ari for possible prosecution.
It also resolved to write the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, with a view to acquainting President Muhammadu Buhari with the “unwholesome” activities of the REC and possibly reviewing his appointment.
These came on a day the Inspector General of Police redeployed the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mohammed Barde, who was with the suspended REC when he announced Senator Aisha Dahiru Ahmed as the winner of the election, after breaching procedures.
Adamawa won, I’ll be fair to all —Fintiri
Shortly after he was declared winner, Governor Fintiri, in a 2,322-word acceptance speech, thanked Adamawa voters for reaffirming their “willingness to support the good works” he had started in the state “because we have reached a consensus that Adamawa State must work.”
The governor said he would be fair to all, irrespective of their political choices. Apologising to the people for what politicians made them go through in the last few weeks and for their orderly conduct in the face of provocation, the governor commended the INEC leadership for standing firm.
He also congratulated his co-contenders and their various parties, extended a hand of fellowship to them and restated his promise of equal treatment for all to realise the Adamawa dream.
Noting that the poll would have long been concluded, he regretted that “the enemies of democracy led by the Resident Electoral Officer, emerged two hours before the appointed time to deliver the worst subversion of a democratic process ever known to mankind and what could best be described as provocative and insult to the collective sensibility of the people.
“Fellow citizens, what we all saw was a flagrant display of desperation, deliberate impunity and crass opportunism which is surrounded by a whole web of uncertainty. In the midst of all these, as your leader, I remained calm and appealed for the same from you. A call you appreciatively hearkened to. Once again, you have brought out our stoic and spartan spirit as Adamawa people to bear. For this, I can’t thank you enough…
“You did all these for us. You did all these for democracy. You did all these for our dear State. You did all these for the present generation and perhaps for generations yet unborn. You voted for continuity in the provision of urban and rural infrastructure. You voted for the continuity of policies that empower our women and youths. You voted for continuity of justice and fair play. You voted for continuity of peace and security architecture that makes your life a priority.
“By this, you have proved that you are clear on what you want and desire. You are also clear on the most civil way to get it. You have equally sent a message to the world that the power to govern Adamawa State is truly in the hands of the Adamawa people; not in the manipulative imaginations of desperate politicians. It isn’t equally in the control of any self-imposed principality or extra-fugal political forces who think they can form a fraternity outside the state to ram governance down your individual and collective throats.
“Fellow citizens, the show of love isn’t only overwhelming but loaded with expectations. I must confess, I am humbled the more. I wouldn’t take this for granted, for I know just what you want. What you want is not anything less than what we have always offered; which is patriotic service. I pledge to serve you all at all times.
“Irrespective of whichever way you voted, I appreciate you for participating and do assure you to expect equal treatment and service that does not discriminate. By the special grace of God, I have emerged as the Governor of all – the governor of Adamawa State for another historic democratic term.
“I congratulate my co-contenders and the leadership of their respective parties for a hard-fought contest. For more than six months, we have crisscrossed the nooks and bounds of the State on a campaign that has been tough but exciting. We charged the political space and made the electorates conscious of the options before them. Knowing fully well that one of us will emerge as the winner, I have personally, never underrated any of you in this race. We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this State deeply, and we care so strongly about its future.
I, therefore, extend a hand of friendship to all of you. I personally consider none of you a loser in this race. We are all winners because the people have spoken and Adamawa State has won; democracy has won.”
He continued: “At this point, I want to commend the institutional capacity of INEC in this election. Even though the attitude of some of the personnel falls short of standard expectations, I have resisted the pressure to let that define the umpire status of the Commission. The technological innovation introduced in the conduct of the election and the untiring commitment of the management and staff of the Commission, have added tremendous value to the credibility of this election.
The fact that the INEC headquarters was swift in disowning the illegal action of the REC was the grace that nullified what was more of a coup perpetrated by politically overzealous upstarts. In spite of everything the decision to come back and conclude the process on Tuesday 18th, has redeemed the image of the Commission and ignites the confidence that there is still hope for democracy in Nigeria…
“Moving forward, we shall continue on the trajectory of our established philosophy of No one is left behind and nothing is left untouched. This way, Adamawa State shall continue to win more wins and democracy shall be entrenched. Thank you and God bless Adamawa State.”
Fintiri’s victory’s triumph for democracy, will of Adamawa electorate— PDP
Reacting to the declaration of Fintiri as winner of the poll, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said it was a momentous triumph for democracy and the Will of the people of Adamawa State over tyranny and desperate manipulative forces which sought to take over control of the state illegally.
According to the party, the spontaneous jubilation of citizens across the state and nationwide following the official declaration of Governor Fintiri as the rightful winner of the election was evidence of the people’s will.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Debo Ologunagba.
He said: “Governor Fintiri’s overwhelming victory is a validation that the Will of the people cannot be subdued no matter the plot by a tyrannic, domineering and power-grabbing few who, with over-bloated ambition, desperately sought to subvert our democracy, scuttle the electoral process, compromise the judiciary, subjugate the people and impose an unconstitutional regime in the polity.
“The PDP salutes the courage, resilience and determination of the people of Adamawa State in resisting the defeated APC and compromised INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mallam Hudu Yunusa Ari in their bid to destabilize the State.
“Our Party also lauds the Adamawa State Returning Officer, Mohammed Mele for his courage in standing on the side of justice, due process and democracy in the discharge of his duty.
“The PDP salutes the roles played by the International and domestic election Observers, the Media, Organized Civil Society and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians in ensuring that the mandate of the people of Adamawa State freely given to the PDP and our Candidate, Governor Fintiri, was not hijacked by APC supplanters.
“The PDP congratulates Governor Fintiri and the people of Adamawa State and urges the Governor to continue in his landmark transformational delivery of democracy dividends to the people in line with the manifesto, programmes and policies of the PDP.”
PDP insists on speedy prosecution of INEC staff, others
Also, the PDP has demanded the speedy completion of the investigation and prosecution of Hudu Yunusa Ari and all others involved in the attempt to thwart the democratic process in the Adamawa governorship election.
PDP Acting National Chairman, Amb. Umar Illiya Damagum, who made the call at a briefing in Abuja, said the PDP was appalled by the desperate attempt by the state Resident Electoral Commission to declare “the defeated All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate winner of the election, even before the completion of the process.
“The action of the Adamawa State REC is a reckless, inexcusable and unpardonable assault on our democracy, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2022, INEC Guidelines and the manifest Will of the people of Adamawa State, which they expressed in voting en mass for the PDP.
“This action by Mallam Hudu Yunusa Ari amounts to a “Civilian Coup” with the intention to take control and install an illegal government in Adamawa State contrary to the provision of Section 1 Sub-section 2 of the Constitution of the
“The PDP insists that such subversive conduct of Mallam Hudu Yunusa Ari must not go unpunished. We restate our demand that INEC should without further delay hand over Mallam Hudu Yunusa Ari to the police for investigation and prosecution.
“The Inspector General of Police should, as a matter of urgency, remove, investigate and sanction the Adamawa State Commissioner of Police for providing cover and enabling the perpetration of this grievous criminal act against our democracy.’’
Atiku congratulates Fintiri, says victory well deserved
The Presidential Candidate of the PDP in the 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar, hailed the victory of Governor Fintiri, in the just concluded supplementary elections as a victory for democracy.
Atiku said this while congratulating Fintiri in a series of tweets on his verified Twitter handle @atiku on Tuesday.
He said, “Congratulations, Gov Ahmadu Fintiri, on your deserved reelection as governor of Adamawa State.
“ Thank you to the people of Adamawa and men and women of goodwill for staying the course in resisting coupists and enemies of democracy from having their way.
“The lesson from this exercise and others is the need for Nigerians to be vigilant and never give in to anti-democratic forces whose objective is to snatch, run with and undermine the mandate of the people as freely expressed in their votes.
“By the way, it is not yet uhuru as we still have one more major mandate to reclaim, and together as one, we shall accomplish the task for the good of our country and its people.”
INEC seeks sack, arrest, prosecution of Adamawa REC, writes IGP, SGF
Also yesterday, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, resolved to write the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba Alkali, to investigate its Resident Electoral Commissioner REC in Adamawa State, Barr. Hudu Yunusa-Ari, for possible prosecution.
INEC also resolved to write the Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, with a view to acquainting President Muhammadu Buhari with the “unwholesome” activities of the REC and possibly reviewing his appointment.
The decisions were a fallout of the commission’s meeting yesterday in Abuja.
It added that the collation process in Adamawa shall resume at a time to be determined by the Returning Officer. “At its meeting today (yesterday), April 18, 2023, the commission discussed matters arising from the Adamawa Governorship election and decided to:
“Write to the Inspector-General of Police for the immediate investigation and possible prosecution of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Adamawa State, Barr. Hudu Yunusa Ari.
“Request the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to draw the attention of the appointing authority to the unwholesome behaviour of the REC for further action.
“The collation process shall resume at a time to be determined by the Returning Officer,” the commission stated.
IGP replaces Adamawa CP over governorship poll
Also yesterday, IGP Usman Baba Alkali ordered Mohammed Barde, Commissioner of Police in Adamawa to withdraw from the state.
The IGP ordered Etim Equa, Commissioner of Police in Gombe to proceed to Adamawa immediately to provide election security in the state.
Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, disclosed this at a briefing with journalists in Abuja.
There have been calls for Barde’s redeployment from the state following the declaration of Aisha Dahiru as the winner of the Adamawa governorship election in Adamawa.
Adejobi said the force, led by IGP Baba, was committed to a free and fair election process.
“The IGP has given a directive that the commissioner of police on election security in Adamawa State, CP Barde should pull out of Adamawa State and the commissioner of police in charge of Gombe State, CP Etim Equa, to proceed to Adamawa immediately, to go and supervise the election and provide the necessary information and ensure that the process is a success,” Adejobi said.
APC candidate, Aisha loses bid to stop announcement of election result
Earlier yesterday, the Federal High Court, in Abuja, declined to hear an ex-parte application Senator Aisha Dahiru Ahmed filed for an order to halt further action on the ongoing governorship election in Adamawa State.
Rather, the court, in a ruling delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, ordered the counsel that appeared for the Applicant, Mr. Mohammed Sheriff, to address it on whether or not it had the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
Justice Ekwo, thereafter, adjourned the suit till April 26 for counsel to the Applicant to address the court on the issue of jurisdiction.
Even though a lawyer, Afeez Matanmi, announced his appearance for the Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, he was, however, not allowed to address the court since the APC candidate brought the action through an ex-parte application.
Senator Aisha had in the ex-parte application marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/510/2023, applied for leave of the court to allow her to seek “an order of prohibition and certiorari removing to this court for the purpose of being set aside the administrative decision of the 1st Respondent made on April 16, 2023, in respect of the declaration of the winner from the gubernatorial election of Adamawa State held on March 18, 2023 and the supplementary election held on April 15, 2023.”
She also sought an order of the court to “prevent the 1st Respondent, its agent, assign or any person acting on its behalf from taking any further steps towards the declaration of the winner from the gubernatorial election of Adamawa State held on March 18 and the supplementary election held on April 15, 2023, pending the determination of the application for judicial review.”
Whereas the APC was listed as the 2nd Applicant in the suit, the INEC, PDP, and its candidate, Fintiri, were cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents.
It will be recalled that INEC had declared that the Adamawa State governorship election was inconclusive, even as it ordered a supplementary election.
However, midway into the collation of results of the supplementary poll that held last Saturday, Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Hudu Yunusa-Ari, announced the APC candidate, Aisha, as the winner.
The action elicited instant reactions, with the electoral body not only voiding Yunusa-Ari’s action but also placing him on an indefinite suspension.
In her suit, the APC candidate insisted that she was declared winner of the governorship election after the collation process was completed.
“Pursuant to the declaration of Senator Aisha Dahiru Ahmed as the winner of the gubernatorial election, any dissatisfied candidate is to resort to the tribunal for redress, if any.
“The 2nd Respondent, PDP, and the 3rd Respondent Ahmadu Fintiri, who lost in the election resorted to fighting and causing a public disturbance which led to the beating and manhandling of one of the 1st Respondent staff.
“The crisis caused by the 2nd and 3rd Respondents led the 1st Respondent to announce that it had cancelled the initial declaration made by it on 16th April 2023”.
She argued that INEC had no powers to cancel or declare a declaration which has been made as null and void.
“The only court with the power on a declaration made from the conduct of an election is only the Election Petition Tribunal set up by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended),” the Applicants averred.
Adeleke describes REC’s action as “assault on democracy, hails INEC
Also reacting to the action of the REC, Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, expressed solidarity with his Adamawa State counterpart, Ahmadu Fintiri, describing recent development in the state as “ a serious threat to our nascent democracy”
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, Adeleke expressed shock at the undemocratic drama, describing the attempt to truncate collation of results and announce rightful winner as “a direct assault on electoral democracy” which should never be allowed to stand.
“I stand by democracy, rule of law and due process as stipulated by the constitution and the Electoral Act. We oppose any shenanigans to tamper with the will of Adamawa people who have the inalienable rights to choose their leader.”
Keep judiciary out of Adamawa poll controversy, CDD warns political actors
In its reaction, the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, raised alarm over attempts by certain political actors to drag the judiciary into the controversial issue of the illegal declaration of the Adamawa governorship election.
According to CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, these attempts run parallel to democratic norms, laid-down laws and guidelines for the conduct of elections. In a statement released yesterday by the CDD, Hassan expressed concern over the growing trend of using the judiciary to interpret actions midway into the electoral process.
“It is strange for the judiciary to be called in midway into the electoral process to interpret any action,” she said.
Hassan further noted that the role of the judiciary in elections was well-defined and should not be politicized, arguing that the judiciary played a critical role in ensuring that elections were free, fair and credible.
She, however, noted that this role should not be used as a tool for political expediency or to undermine the will of the people.
The CDD called on the judiciary to remain independent and impartial in the discharge of its duties.
“Since it is abundantly clear that the now suspended Adamawa REC acted only as an imposter in announcing the so-called winner, no one ought to be told that the action was a nullity.
“The Judiciary should not be dragged into what is clearly an illegal affair ab initio. CDD calls on the leadership of Judiciary to stand by its earlier warning to judges and other judicial officers that they should avoid unwholesome interference in the political process,” Hassan added.
The organization also urged all political actors to abide by democratic norms and the laid-down laws and guidelines for the conduct of elections.
Yiaga Africa asks Buhari to sack erring REC
On its part, an election observer group, Yiaga Africa, also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the erring Adamawa REC.
In a statement jointly signed by the chair, Watching The Vote Working Group, and its Executive Director, Dr Hussain Abdu and Samson Itodo respectively, the group frowned at the conduct of Yunusa-Ari which it described as inimical to democracy.
While outlining the following recommendations for INEC, Yiaga Africa said: “The President and the Nigerian Senate should initiate removal proceedings against the Adamawa REC in defense of the constitution, the independence of INEC, and the overall integrity of the electoral process.
It urged the police and INEC to swiftly prosecute the Adamawa REC for gross misconduct, insubordination, and fraud. “In addition, the attacks on two of the National Commissioners deployed to oversee the supplementary elections in Adamawa should be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.”
I Won’t Abandon Atiku – Dele Momodu
The Director of Strategic Communications of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, Dele Momodu, on Monday, insisted that the February 25 presidential election, which produced President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, was manipulated.
In a statement tagged, “I stand on rule of law,” issued a few hours after Tinubu’s inauguration as Nigeria’s 16th President, Momodu insisted that the judiciary still had to decide the authentic winner of the poll.
Momodu said he would stand by and not abandon the presidential candidate of his party, Atiku Abubakar, for any gains.
The PDP stalwart said, “My position on the state of our country, Nigeria, is simple and straightforward. I’m a loyal member of the PDP who owes absolute allegiance to Nigeria and its rule of law. My political party, the PDP and others, passionately hold the view that the last presidential election was savagely manipulated by the ruling party APC and the cases are already in courts.
“Nothing will make me abandon my party on the altar of convenience and profit. Win or lose, I will continue to stand on this principle without any malice or prejudice against those who think otherwise. Democracy is a game of choice and I’m resolutely standing by our candidate, the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who has taken the honorable and peaceful step of going to court to seek redress. This is the only way we can deepen our hard-earned democracy. Sacrifice is not always convenient but painful.”
He commended those who took the initiative of challenging the electoral outcome in court, saying, “I salute and respect the Wazirin Adamawa and others like my dear friend and brother, former Governor Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate, for promoting the best tenets of democracy in Nigeria and I’m willing to encourage them rather than discourage their onerous quests.”
Last week, the suit filed by the PDP seeking the disqualification of the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, on grounds of alleged double registration, was dismissed by the Supreme Court which ruled that the party lacked the locus to institute the suit in the first instance.
Atiku and Obi both turned down invitations extended to them by Tinubu to attend his inauguration ceremony, citing different reasons, not unrelated to the fact that they are in court to challenge the process that brought him to power.
Start By Publishing Your Assets, Investments, SERAP Tells Tinubu
As Bola Tinubu assumes Nigeria’s presidency today, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has advised him to promptly make public his assets, income, investments, liabilities and interests. He is also charged to impress it on his vice, Kashim Shettima, to toesame line.
The group, in a letter dated May 27, 2023 and signed by deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, also urged the Lagos State ex-governor to prioritise respect for human rights, media freedom, rule of law and the judiciary.
It recalled Tinubu’s recent promise to “kill corruption,” reminding him that the outgoing administration in 2015 made similar promise that was not kept.
SERAP said: “As Nigerians have witnessed for eight years, (outgoing) President Muhammadu Buhari has neither ‘killed corruption’ nor obeyed court judgments on transparency and accountability.
“Publishing details of your assets, income, investments and liabilities and encouraging your deputy and others to do same would allow Nigerians to know your worth and that of other public officials.
“If your election is upheld by the judiciary, your government can use transparency in asset declarations as a means of promoting public accountability and ending systemic corruption in the country.”
According to the group, Buhari’s “broken promises to make specific details of his assets public and to kill corruption have opened up the country’s political and electoral processes to a money free-for-all, discouraged political participation and contributed to impunity.”
It continued: “Although (outgoing) President Buhari’s march to Aso Rock was predicated, in large part, on his campaign rhetoric to ‘kill corruption’, corruption remains widespread among high-ranking public officials and in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
“Making public details of your assets, liabilities and interests would reduce unjust enrichment of public officials, ensure integrity in public offices and promote transparency and accountability, as well as good governance.”
The body noted that enforcement of court judgments is critical to national interest and restoration of rule of law in the country.
SERAP added: “The incoming government, therefore, has a responsibility to improve citizens’ trust and confidence in government. But it will be difficult for the new government to be trusted if its leaders do not come clean about their assets and income.
“Disclosure of income, assets and conflicts of interest can serve as powerful tools to draw attention to abuse of public office, help prosecute corrupt offenders and create a culture of scrutiny in the public sector.”
2023 Northern Presidency Failed Because Peter Obi Left PDP – Okowa
The outgoing Delta State Governor and 2023 vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ifeanyi Okowa has stated that a northerner could have succeeded President Muhammadu Buhari if Peter Obi didn’t leave the PDP.
According to Okowa, the PDP had analyzed and concluded on how to present a northern candidate, with a southern running mate as the best way to counter the All Progressives Congress (APC) from getting massive bloc votes in the 2023 elections.
The party threw its presidential ticket open with a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar eventually emerging as the PDP candidate.
However, the Delta State Governor said the decision of Obi to join the race for the ticket threw up southeast and religious sentiments and his eventual decision to dump the party for the Labour Party affected the votes of the PDP.
He made the submission during a chat with journalists on Sunday in Asaba.
According to Okowa, the northern presidency would have succeeded if Obi didn’t leave the PDP.
“I belong to the PDP and for me as a person and for the majority of the people in the PDP, they believed that our pathway to victory was to have a northern candidate and a southern vice,” he said.
“Why? Because we were not a majority.”
“The only thing that turned our reasoning out was when Obi came out from the south-east and there were a lot of feelings that came in among the Christians.
“So it ate very deep into our votes and that is what led to the loss of the elections,” Okowa added.
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