The electoral commission, INEC, has declared as “null, void and of no effect”, the declaration of Aisha Dahiru as the winner of the governorship election in Adamawa.
INEC stated this in a statement by its spokesperson, Festus Okoye.
“The attention of the Commission has been drawn to a purported declaration of winner in the Adamawa Governorship election by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) even when the process has clearly not been concluded,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa, Hudu Ari, Sunday morning, controversially declared Mrs Dahiru, popularly called Binani, the winner of the election.
But Mr Okoye said the REC’s decision to announce Mrs Binani as the winner was a usurpation of powers.
According to the electoral law, the announcement should have been made by the returning officer of the election, who is a different person, usually an academic appointed by INEC for that purpose.
The commission ordered the suspension of the collation of results and summoned both the REC and the Returning Officer to the INEC headquarters in Abuja.
“The action of the REC 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,” Mr Okoye added.
“The REC, Returning Officer and all involved are hereby invited to the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja immediately.”
Mrs Binani of the APC and Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the PDP are the two main contestants in the election with Mr Fintiri leading before Saturday’s supplementary election in 69 polling units.
Before Saturday’s supplementary elections, Mr Fintiri led Mrs Binani with over 30,000 votes.
The rerun election was held in 69 polling units in the 20 local governments in the state, with less than 40,000 eligible voters.
Therefore, to win the election, Ms Binani needed a huge turnout of voters and needed to win about 90 per cent of the votes cast in Saturday’s supplementary election.
Observer groups react
Meanwhile, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and YIAGA Africa have condemned the action of the Adamawa REC.
The observer groups, in separate statements, called on the electoral commission to continue collation and sanction all erring officers.
“It is important that laid down processes are adhered to avoid a breakdown of law and order in a heightened political environment. CDD will release a statement on the conduct of the elections later today,” CDD said in a statement on its Twitter handle.
YIAGA Africa also said: “ 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.”
However, the APC is already celebrating the ‘illegally’ announced result. The party, on its Twitter page, congratulated Mrs Binani.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, also posted a congratulatory message on his Twitter handle.
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