Binani’s declaration: PDP supporters protest in Adamawa, give INEC 72hour ultimatum

Supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Adamawa State Monday took to the streets to protest against the declaration of Senator Aishatu Dahiru Binani as the winner of the Adamawa governorship election.

But Binani has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from setting aside her declaration as the winner of the election.

In a motion exparte filed yesterday, the applicant sought the leave of the court allowing her to file an application for an order of prohibition and certiorari stopping INEC from taking any step towards setting aside the declaration made on April 16, in which the Adamawa REC, Barr Hudu Ari declared her as winner of the election.

She also sought an order preventing the INEC, its agent, assign or any person acting on its behalf from taking further steps towards the declaration of the winner from the governorship election held on March 18 and the supplementary election held on April 15, pending the determination of the application for judicial review.

In one of the grounds upon which she filed the application, Binani contended that the only court with the power to review the declaration of result is the election petition tribunal.

She added that the only option open to any dissatisfied candidate is to resort to the tribunal for redress, if any.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the application.

The Yola protest

The protesters in Yola who gave INEC 72 hours to complete the supplementary election vowed that they would continue with their protest until the collation resumes and results are declared.

This comes as the INEC shifted its emergency management meeting earlier fixed for Monday to today (Tuesday).

The commission is expected to take a final decision on the controversy that trailed Saturday’s supplementary governorship election in the state.

The commission also asked REC Hudu Ari to steer clear of the office until further notice.

Recall that the Adamawa REC had on Sunday morning declared Binani winner of the election in the state even while the collation of results was ongoing.

However, INEC overruled Ari’s declaration, suspended the collation and summoned him to the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

The protest started on Monday morning at the PDP Fresh Air office next to the pedestrian bridge in Yola and terminated for the day at the INEC head office in Dougerei.

They displayed placards with inscriptions: “Enough of the supplementary saga”, “INEC declare the Adamawa governorship results now or never”, “we can no longer wait any longer”, “Adamawa REC must go”, among others.

Deputy Campaign Director of the PDP, Felix Tangwama, who led the protest, said they would continue taking to the streets until the collation resumes and results are declared, stressing that PDP supporters will be forced to take any decisive action after the expiration of the ultimatum.

He said, “Adamawa citizens are demanding that the collation resumes so that there would be peace.

“We are not happy with what Hudu (suspended resident electoral commissioner) and those supporting him did. Those that are supposed to enforce the law are sitting there with him. This is illegal, shameful and condemnable and those involved should be sanctioned and prosecuted.

“Therefore, we are here to stage a protest and we want to assure INEC that we will protest every day until the collation of results continues.

“Results are on the IREV and we would like to see the magic that can be used to change them on the INEC Portal.”

Our correspondents report that there was still a heavy presence of security around the INEC collation centre, Bank Road roundabout and at the INEC Dougerei head office in the state capital.

INEC can’t upturn REC’s declaration – APC

Responding to the PDP protest at a press conference in Yola, the acting chairman of APC in Adamawa State, Elder Sama’ila Tadawus said it was erroneous to say REC Hudu was bribed to announce Binani as the winner.

He said, “Our candidate was popular and did not require manipulating the process to win the election. Those who needed to manipulate the process were the ones who wanted the REC to be illegally suspended by two national commissioners on observer duty.

“We are also aware that the molestation of the national commissioners was done by agents of the state government. Hired thugs were used to molest one of them to the point that he was stripped half naked. Shamelessly, one of the agents of the state government was seen apologizing to the affected person and claiming that they molested him thinking he was the REC.

“We condemn the weaponization of violence by the opposition. This is seen by their so-called daily protest which is a harbinger of violence. We call on security agencies to as a matter of urgency stop these misguided agitators who are bent on throwing the state into chaos,” Tadawus said.

Binani’s declaration show of shame – PDP govs

The PDP Governors Forum has described the purported declaration of Binani as a show of shame.

The governors, therefore, called on INEC to sanction those responsible, adding that corrupt and partisan officials of the commission should also be shown the way out.

A statement signed by Hon. C.I.D. Maduabum, the forum condemned what it described as “the show of shame” in Adamawa State during the April 18 supplementary governorship election.

“The attempted electoral heist and brigandage perpetrated by the Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barrister Hudu Yunusa, is perhaps the lowest point of the 2023 General elections,” the statement said.

The opposition governors, however, commended the steps taken by INEC to recover its image by nullifying the “attempted coup” and suspending the REC, adding that the Returning Officer, Mele Lamido, should immediately conclude the collation and declare the result.

INEC shifts emergency meeting till Tuesday

In a related development, INEC has shifted its emergency management meeting which was earlier fixed for Monday to today.

National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, told Daily Trust that the meeting would now hold today to enable some of the national commissioners and other officials who are either on field assignments or have distances to cover to arrive for the meeting.

The commission had fixed the emergency meeting over the controversial declaration of the winner of the Adamawa State supplementary by the now suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Prof. Yunusa Hudu Ari who was overruled and summoned to Abuja.

Okoye on Sunday also announced the suspension of the collation of the election results with immediate effect.

A national commissioner had told Daily Trust in confidence, “We are going to hold an emergency meeting tomorrow (Monday) during which a decision will be taken on the governorship election.”

The national commissioner also frowned at the treatment meted out to their colleague in Yola, saying: “It was despicable that a national commissioner will be stripped naked. Where are the security operatives; there are a lot of questions begging for answers.”

Apart from the Adamawa REC, the commission also summoned the collation/returning officer, Prof. Mohammed Mele, and all other officers involved in the election.

However, Okoye confirmed to Daily Trust that Prof. Mele, who has the statutory responsibility to declare the result, has arrived in Abuja but could not confirm the number of other concerned officials that had arrived.

Meanwhile, INEC has asked Hudu to stay away from the office till further notice.

This is contained in a circular to the embattled REC signed by Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony, Secretary to the Commission (INEC) and titled: ‘Commission’s directive to stay away from INEC, Adamawa State’.

SDP candidate seeks disqualification of Binani, Fintiri

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate in Adamawa State, Dr Umar Ardo, has called for the disqualification of the two leading candidates from the race.

Ardo scored the third highest number of votes in the March 18 election that was declared inconclusive.

Speaking to Daily Trust, Ardo argued that in their desperation for power, both the PDP and APC candidates, Governor Fintiri and Binani respectively, had committed grievous electoral offences including massive vote buying, thereby discrediting the elections and embarrassing INEC.

Ardo had defected to SDP from the PDP after taking his former party to court eleven times over issues bordering on internal democracy.

He urged INEC to seek the disqualification of Fintiri and Binani at the Federal High Court, cancel the election and conduct a fresh one for the remaining candidates.

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“We call upon INEC to consider approaching the Federal High Court to disqualify the two culprit candidates, cancel the entire process and conduct a fresh election for the remaining qualified candidates in the governorship contest.

“As evidence to our earlier description of the situation, the Adamawa State governorship election was a ‘naked dance of shame in the marketplace’. The current imbroglio is testimony to that,” Ardo said.

DailyTrust