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Drama as INEC official clashes over Binani’s declaration as Adamawa guber poll winner

Drama ensued yesterday in Adamawa as the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Yunusa Ari, declared the candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, in the supplementary governorship election, Aisha Dahiru, aka Binani, winner of the election, even when he didn’t have the power to do so.

Though the collation of results was scheduled to start at 11 am yesterday, with the result to be declared by the Returning Officer, Mele Lamido, the REC had gone ahead to declare the APC candidate winner at 9 am. Only the Returning Officer has the constitutional power to declare the winner.

His announcement elicited protests from members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, present at the state collation centre in Yola.
Before the collation exercise was suspended on Saturday night, results from 10 LGAs had been announced – and Binani was trailing Ahmadu Fintiri, the incumbent governor and PDP candidate.

The collation of results from the remaining 10 LGAs was expected to commence by 11 am on Sunday.

Mele Lamido, the returning officer for the Adamawa governorship election, was not present when Ari announced Binani as the winner of the election.

Lamido is empowered by law to declare the winner of the election, and not the REC, Yunusa Ari.

Yiaga Africa, a civil society organisation, in its immediate response, described the declaration as illegal, saying it was against the guidelines of the Electoral Act.

“We’ve received reports of an illegal declaration of results by the @inecnigeria REC for #Adamawa in violation of S 64 & 65 Electoral Act 2022 & Part 3, INEC guidelines which vests the power to declare results solely on a Returning officer appointed by INEC.

“We call on @inecnigeria to nullify the illegal declaration, suspend the REC for Adamawa state and take urgent actions to protect the integrity of the process,” YIAGA Africa stated.

INEC nullifies Binani’s declaration as gov-elect by Adamawa REC

However, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, immediately declared null and void, the purported declaration of the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in Adamawa State, Aisha Dahiru Binani, who had already gone ahead to deliver her acceptance speech.

According to the commission, the REC has no such powers, as only the Returning Officer for the election is constitutionally mandated to make returns.

Besides, the commission said the election had not been concluded when the said the illegal declaration was made.

Consequently, INEC summoned the REC and all other officials involved in the incident to its headquarters in Abuja.

The National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education at the commission, Mr Festus Okoye, who confirmed the development yesterday, said: “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.

Prevail Inegbenose

Prevail Inegbenose is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spark Media & Entertainment Ventures, the Publisher of Spark News Daily - Nigeria's most sought-after online newspaper in Government, Politics, Sport, Entertainment and Religion. Prevail Inegbenose studied Mass Communication from the prestigious Auchi Polytechnic Auchi and graduated in 2007. He is an experienced journalist with 16 years of active and practical journalism. Prevail Inegbenose is the Lead Pastor, House of God Int'l - Rest Tabernacle, Abuja - Nigeria. Tel: 08039564796.

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