The suspended Resident Electoral Commission (REC) for Adamawa State, Barrister Hudu Yunusa Ari, has explained that he acted within the ambit of law when he announced results of 69 polling units in the April 15 supplementary governorship election in the state.
The REC, in a letter to the inspector-general of police said threats and pressures were mounted on him before his controversial announcement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Aishatu Ahmed (Binani) as winner against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and governor of the state, Ahmadu Fintiri, on Sunday, April 16.
He said categorically that the later result announced by the two national commissioners were shrouded in doubt and unacceptable outcome of the election, maintaining that he acted within his responsibility and within the law and the Electoral Act, 2022 in declaring Binani as winner of the election.
In the letter, which was also sent to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Ari said his announcement of the results helped avert impending danger of the delay in announcing the results, especially because he realized that the results brought by the presiding officers from the 69 polling units, which he did not sign, differed with those uploaded on the IREV portal.
In the four-pages letter, Ari said, “It was based on this, that I compiled all the polling unit results and declared the winner of the election based on the highest number of valid votes scored by the candidate of the All-Progressives Congress (APC), Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani.
“The breakdown of the valid votes scored by the two leading candidates in the supplementary election using the results from the polling units as collated into all relevant Forms EC8B, C, D and E respectively by properly and legally appointed and recognized collation officers and my humble self as Adamawa State Chief Collation Officer and Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).
“Prior to the declaration, there was an intelligence report made available to me that the two National Commissioners were at the Government House Yola, at 8.31pm on 15/04/2023 Adamawa State and held a meeting with the State Governor, Mr. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri.”
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He added that immediately after he declared the results, some PDP supporters beat up two commissioners for allegedly failing to deliver Governor Fintiri and some others in a purported video.
Narrating what transpired on that day, he said further that, “In the evening, when I was preparing for state collation, all seats for ICCES members were set and when I got to the place, my name was replaced with that of the Administrative Secretary to take charge of collation. I then asked the National Commissioners to explain why they would exclude me from the process of collating results but there was no explanation. After some time, the National Commissioners declared that | was nowhere to be found. Immediately after the announcement, someone called me and informed about the development. So around 1:00 am on Sunday 16% April, 2023, I came back to the collation center and as I saw some people sleeping including the two National Commissioners, I addressed them that I was still the Resident Electoral Commissioner and that all stakeholders for the re-run election should return to the collation center by 11:00 am on Sunday, 16th April, 2023. It is important to note that while the National Commissioners defied the security concerns released by the Commissioner of Police, they purportedly did result collation at various locations by their selfappointed, unapproved and illegal collation officers.
“Meanwhile, I received reports that the collations at the various centers were left much to be desired. So due to the pressure and the numerous calls I received from party agents and candidates of political parties threatening to cause mayhem for not having confidence in the collation of results at the various collation centers as directed by the National Commissioners, I looked inward and decided to call for all the results from the sixty-nine (69) polling units.
“To avert the impending danger of the delay in announcing the results of the supplementary elections, I received the authentic results submitted by the Presiding Officers (POs) from all the sixty-nine polling units and compared them with the results that were uploaded on the IREV INEC portal and I realized that the results on the portal were different because the results on the INEC portal were not signed by me.”