Hudu Yunusa Ari, the suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Adamawa State, has shed light on the circumstances surrounding his declaration that Aishatu Dahiru Binani, a candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC), had won the state’s governorship election.
A lawyer, Ari claims he announced the results of 69 polling places in the April 15 special election due to the fact that he was under pressure from the police.
This was revealed by the suspended REC in a letter to the Inspector General of Police outlining his involvement in the contentious pronouncement of Binani’s victory over PDP Governor Ahmadu Fintiri on April 16.
In the letter, which was copied the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS), Ari said he acted within the ambit of the law to avert impending danger of the delay in announcing the results, especially because he realised that the results brought by the presiding officers from the 69 polling units, which he did not sign, differed from those uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal.
He also listed the attempts to replace him as the collation officer with the administrative secretary, threats by candidates to cause mayhem, commissioners appointing ‘illegal collation officers’, and his house being surrounded by policemen from the Government House as some of the risks he faced in the course of the election.
“It was based on this that I compiled all the polling unit results and declared the winner of the election based on the highest number of valid votes scored by the candidate of the APC.
“I had the breakdown of the valid votes scored by the two leading candidates in the supplementary election, using the results from the polling units as collated into all relevant forms EC8B, C, D and E respectively by properly and legally appointed and recognised collation officers and my humble self as the Adamawa State Chief Collation Officer and Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).
“Prior to the declaration, there was an intelligence report made available to me that the two national commissioners were at the Government House, Yola at 8:31pm on April 15, 2023 and held a meeting with Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri”, he wrote in the letter.
According to him, immediately after the declaration, some PDP supporters attacked two INEC commissioners and the returning officer for allegedly failing to deliver Governor Fintiri.
“It was alleged that the people beaten in the purported video wanted to subvert the rerun election in Adamawa State and undermine the will of the people as expressed through the ballot”, Ari added.