The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Thursday that the supplementary election for the governorship seat in Adamawa State, north-east Nigeria, will be held in 69 polling units in 20 of the 21 local government areas of the state.
Today, all eyes will be on the two major contenders – incumbent governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and Aishatu Dahiru, popularly known as Binani, of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
PREMIUM TIMES reported that INEC declared the 18 March governorship election in the state inconclusive after it cancelled the election in 69 polling units in the state following reported incidents of violence and overvoting.
After the first round of voting last month, Mr Fintiri led with 421,524 votes while Binani scored 390,275 votes, thus, trailing with 31,249 votes.
Other candidates in the election stand no chance of victory. They include Umar Ardo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who came a distant third with 6,865 votes.
Others are Sa’ad Tahir of NNPP, Mohammed Shuwa of ADC, Baba Inna of PRP, Husseini Tahir of AA, Babangida Umaru of ADP, Yahya Cholli of APGA, Babajo Bello of APM, Adam Isa of APP, Abba Maina of NRM, Maigana Musa of YPP, and Dadou Amron of ZLP.
Among the governorship candidates, only Mustapha Otumba of the Labour Party withdrew from the race, on 23 February. He declared his support for Binani.
Since the election was declared inconclusive, none of the fringe candidates has withdrawn from the rerun election despite having no chance of victory.
Binani’s Herculean Task
Binani faces a herculean task in her bid to become Nigeria’s first woman to be elected state governor.
She currently trails the incumbent with 31,249 votes. However, in the 69 polling units where elections were cancelled, the total number of registered voters is 42,785 while the Permanent Voters’ Cards PVCs collected in those polling units were 36,935.
This means Binani will need to ensure that virtually all the eligible voters vote during the rerun and she must score about 90 per cent of the votes.
Possibility of Election Petition
The APC candidate, earlier in an interview on Channels Television, asked INEC to review the results of the governorship election in some local governments where she disagreed with the number of votes scored by the PDP candidate.
She accused the governor and the PDP of using violence to manipulate the election, alleging that INEC ad-hoc staff were not present in some polling centres.
Binani said although she is not afraid of running against the incumbent governor in a supplementary election, there is a need for a review of previous results.
“I am never afraid but all I am asking is that the INEC should conduct a review of the said LGAs so that it will bring out the real figures for all the candidates.
“That is just all I am asking and as soon as that is done, we would be home and dry and then we will be confident to go back to the field. That is just all I am asking,” she said.
INEC is, however, proceeding with the supplementary elections without reviewing the already declared results thus leaving Binani with the option of challenging the results at the election petition tribunal.
On his part, Mr Fintiri told BBC Hausa service that he is confident of winning the rescheduled election.
“I have never lost sleep over the inconclusive election declared by INEC, because I’m sure that at the end of it all, I will win. I have that belief, God the Almighty will give me victory.
“Even in the 2019 election, it happened that way, it was the same thing. The election was declared inconclusive by the INEC, and the margin of the vote between me and my challenger was less than the votes cancelled.
“The margin in 2019 was 32,000 votes then and the votes cancelled was over 40,000. When the inconclusive election was held, out of the 40,000 only 10,000 voted and I got almost 10,000 votes”, Mr Fintiri said.
INEC, Police prepared
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa, Hudu Ari, on Wednesday, said the commission is set for the governorship election. He told leaders of political parties that only one party agent accredited by the commission will be allowed at each polling unit and collation centre during the election.
Mr Ari said the commission is committed to conducting a free, credible and all-inclusive election as it has no any favoured candidate. He urged relevant security agencies to arrest, investigate and prosecute anyone involved in violent conduct including statements capable of inciting violence.
Also, the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Muhammad Barde, cautioned politicians and their supporters against disrupting the April 15 governorship and state constituency elections in the state.
Mr Barde who spoke during the Consultative Committee on Election Security meeting at the Adamawa INEC collation centre, Yola, on Thursday, said the police would be tough on proponents of violence.
We promise to provide adequate security to enable INEC to conduct the exercise peacefully, the police commissioner said.
At the event, the Adamawa State Director of State Security Service, Babagana Bulama, also expressed his agency’s preparedness.
He said that apart from the personnel they have on the ground, they are expecting reinforcement from their national headquarters as well as from Gombe and Taraba states.
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