For a second time, the political intrigues and confusion trailing the governorship race in Adamawa State has defied the electoral process regarded as one of the most essential ingredients of democracy.
The governorship poll which was declared inconclusive last month has remained a challenge to democratic transition, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday suspended the collation of results from the supplementary governorship election held in the state on Saturday.
Specifically, the electoral body declared the result of the poll null and void on grounds that the pronouncement of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Aisha Dahiru (Binani), as winner of the election by the Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Ari Hudu, when the process had not been concluded was an usurpation of powers of the Returning Officer.
At about 9am yesterday, Hudu threw a spanner in the works of the state’s supplementary governorship election when he declared Binani winner of the election.
Apparently enraged by the declaration of Binani as winner, members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who were at the state collation centre in Yola lost their cool and descended both verbally and physically on the INEC REC.
While results from 10 local government areas announced showed that Binani was trailing the PDP candidate, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, before the collation exercise was suspended on Saturday night, the collation of results from the remaining 10 councils was expected to commence by 11am on Sunday.
But the returning officer for the Adamawa governorship election, Mele Lamido, who is empowered by law to declare the winner of the election, was absent when Yunusa-Ari announced Binani as the winner of the election.
Embarrassed by the development, INEC noted that the REC declared the result even when the process had not been concluded.
The commission, in a statement issued yesterday by the national commissioner, Information and Voter Education, Barr Festus Okoye, suspended the election and summoned the REC, Returning Officer, and other involved in the election.
INEC said it was deeply disturbed by the harassment of our two national commissioners deployed to the State to ensure a peaceful and credible supplementary election.
It also condemned in strong terms the stripping of its national commissioner during the Adamawa State supplementary election.
A viral video show that INEC national commissioner (name withheld) was stripped by unknown persons in Adamawa State.
“A National Commissioner can not be treated as a common criminal, a former vice chancellor of Usman Danfodio University was stripped naked and dragged, this Commission will not allow that to stand,” Okoye said
He said the commission would not condone any act of lawlessness or brigandage targeted at our officials or the process.
Meanwhile, despite the position of INEC headquarters rendering the action of the Adamawa REC as usurpation of the power of the returning officer, null, void and of no effect, the state chapter of APC yesterday congratulated Senator Aishatu Dahiru Binani as winner of the election.
The state chairman of the party, Samaila Tadawus, noted at a press conference that the declaration of Binani as the winner did not come to the party as a surprise because of her political trajectory and record of achievements.
“This is a victory for APC and the people of Adamawa”, Tadawus said, calling on the people of the state “to disregard all rumours being spread by our opponents.
“In view of the above, the APC state EXCO is hereby congratulating, Her Excellency, all party members from ward, local government area, state and national levels respectively,” he added.
The APC chairman thanked INEC for conducting a free, fair and peaceful election in Adamawa.
Meanwhile, in her acceptance speech, the APC governorship candidate, Binani, , thanked God for her emergence as winner of the election.
She said her success at the polls would further encourage women to vie for political positions in future.