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By Ed Malik, A | ed@ddnewsonline.com |
posted March 26, 2023

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), said they and other civil rights groups are concerned that the March 18th, 2023 gubernatorial election couldn’t be completed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) due to some extraneous factors of insecurity that marred the conduct of that election in some parts of Adamawa state.

The human rights body expressed the foreboding concern in a press statement by HURIWA National Coordinator, Emmanuel Nwubiko, on Sunday, saying that the failure of the police to secure the election was a prime factor that understandably affected the inconclusive outcome of that election.

According to HURIWA, “we are aware that on 22nd March 2023, Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani), the Governorship candidate of the APC in Adamawa State through her legal team wrote an addendum to her Petition of the 22nd day of March 2023.

In both the first petition and the supplementary petition what was made abundantly clear was the indubitably and undoubted facts that with specific reference to the said Governorship election, the Collation officer and the Resident Electoral Commissioner were harassed, intimidated, brutalized and subjected to grievous bodily harm and inhuman treatment by alleged agents of the Peoples Democratic Party to the extent that they were forced to be moved to safety at such places like the army barracks, Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako’s residence and the Airforce Base.

It is this connection that HURIWA is calling on the police authority (albeit, the IGP ought to have retired last week alongside his colleagues so his legal status as IGP is another matter altogether), hence we are asking the relevant security agencies to arrest these PDP party agents accused of playing one dastardly role of the other in bringing about the Adamawa election impasse.

HURIWA is well aware through a series of credible information that the aforementioned movement was with the intention of coercing them under duress to declare their principal, the Governor of Adamawa State as the winner of the election.

On Sunday, the l9th day of March 2023, the State Returning officer in his wisdom did announce that the collation process be suspended till Monday 20th day of March 2023, to allow for the 
review of the Fufore Local Government Area results.

It is regrettable that this well-thought-out suggestion was met with threats, and intimidation allegedly by a PDP agent Dr. Hong who threatened to maim the INEC official and burn down the INEC collation Centre. Incidentally, rather than provide security cover for the INEC officials, the Commissioner of Police and the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) walked out of the hall leaving the officials of the Commission at the mercy of the rampaging thugs. This pattern of abdication of duty by the police seemed to have been replicated all across Nigeria. Recall that on the day of the March 18th governorship poll HURIWA made this sane observation of the apparent collusion and conspiratorial partnership between security heads in the different states and the state governors. This sane Sinister pattern repeated itself in Adamawa State. We ask the Police high command, the Director General of the Department of State Services, and the National Security Adviser to look into the accusations made against these prominent politicians belonging to the PDP. HURIWA repeats loudly that nobody is above the law of the land and if anyone is found wanting with regards to the violence that marred the gubernatorial election in Adamawa State that made the election to be declared inconclusive, must be arrested, prosecuted and punished to serve as a deterrence.

Based on the abundance of empirical evidence, it is justifiable that the All Progressives Congress Governorship candidate in Adamawa state has patriotically called for a REVIEW of the results in the following local government areas.

  1. Michika
  2. Madagali
  3. Hong
  4. Gombi
  5. Song
  6. Girei
  7. Numan
  8. Lamurde
  9. Demsa
  10. Guvuk
  11. Mayo Belwa
  12. Jada
  13. Toungo
  14. Shelleng
  15. Ganye
  16. Maiha

HURIWA is backing this call for immediate review of the aforementioned results before there can be any credible ground for conductive free, fair, and transparent rerun elections as announced by INEC.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria is joining with other voices, together with all right-thinking lovers of credible election to add our voice to that of Aisha Binani, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa, who rightly made a lawful demand that falls within the remits of the jurisdictions of the Independent National Electoral Commission to review the elections in the above listed local government areas so as to guarantee a free, fair, credible and transparent rerun poll in Adamawa.

The electoral umpire should follow the precedence they already set clearly in the Enugu and Abia governorship elections in which INEC took some hours to review certain contentious results from some local government collation centers of Abia and Enugu before reaching a determination that received widespread positive acceptance and overwhelming rejoicing in Abìa and Enugu States.

If INEC did the reviews of the Enugu and Abia gubernatorial election before announcing the results, what stops the commission from doing this review comprehensively and thoroughly in Adamawa State before conducting the rerun that has been scheduled?

We learned from some credible quarters that alleged that the First Lady of Nigeria Mrs. Aisha Buhari who is a native daughter of Adamawa state is the unseen force forcing the hands of the INEC to do what is unjust and what lacked credibility and transparency by not reviewing all of those contentious collated results in Adamawa State before conducting the rerun by month ending. We want to ask Mrs. Aisha Buhari whether the allegations made against her are true and if so, why? Why stop history from being made in Adamawa with a Woman emerging as the first ever elected governor of a Nigerian State?

We don’t really want to believe the intelligence we got about the involvement of the Wife of the President in trying to frustrate the emergence of a Woman Governor in Nigeria to come from her state which should be a landmark achievement for her that it was during her time as First Lady that a Woman governor was first elected.

We are challenging both the Nigerian First Lady and INEC to say what they know about this accusation from some quarters up there in the corridors of power. As for INEC, we want to ask whether they are not already tired of all the bad image that the internal saboteurs who undermined the free organization of the Presidential and National legislative election created for INEC all over the World. INEC, do you bathe with SCANDALS? Speak out to Nigerians if indeed the First Lady is pressing your NECKS to rerun elections without conducting a lawful review as demanded by most right-thinking Nigerians.

We are hereby telling INEC that no Nigerian see them as credible anymore and nobody takes them seriously when they mouth their readiness to conduct the transparent poll.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, assured in Abuja on Saturday that it would conduct a credible supplementary governorship election in Adamawa State that would be the pride of the international community and of Nigerians.

Mr. Festus Okoye, INEC’s Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, gave the assurance when some women staged a protest at the Commission’s headquarters in the nation’s capital in respect of the Adamawa election.

The protesters were led by Hajiya Lami Lau, the President of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS).

Okoye showed appreciation to the women for conducting themselves in a peaceful manner, noting that INEC belonged to all Nigerians.

“The people of Adamawa are the only ones with the right to elect their governor; those of us in the Commission and Nigerians from other states have no vote in Adamawa,” Okoye told the protesters.

“The Commission will go back to Adamawa [State] and conduct a supplementary election that Nigerians and the international community will be proud of.”

Okoye, however, reiterated that the faith of Adamawa would only be determined by the people of the state.

Recall that INEC had a few days ago declared the March 18 governorship election in Adamawa State as inconclusive.

The final results collated by INEC at the Adamawa Governorship election revealed that Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), got the highest number of votes.

INEC, however, announced that canceled votes at the election were more than the margin of win between Fintiri and the runner-up, Senator Aishatu Binani of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Aishatu Binani, the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in Adamawa, says March 18 election was marred by violence and rigging, commending the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for declaring the election inconclusive.

“My position is that the INEC REC did very well by declaring the result inconclusive and my reasons are simple,” Mrs. Binani said.

“Whoever saw or monitored the election of Adamawa State knows that the election was marred with violence, rigging, over-voting, and all manner of irregularities. The figures that were deposed were really, as far as I’m concerned, concocted figures.”

Mrs. Binani, a serving senator for Adamawa Central, disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Friday.

Professor Muhammadu Mele of the University of Maiduguri, the state collation officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declared the Adamawa governorship election inconclusive due to the margin of votes between the two major candidates.

Incumbent governor Ahmadu Fintiri was leading Mrs. Binani, with a margin of over 30,000 votes. Mr. Fintiri had 421,524 polled votes while Mrs. Binani polled 390,275 votes.

According to INEC, a rerun election will be fixed in areas where the election did not hold in the state to determine the winner of the election.

HURIWA is asking INEC loud and clear to immediately without any further delay by reviewing the results of the Adamawa election in some of the local government areas whereby elections were clearly characterized by unmitigated violence and over-voting. Going ahead with the rerun without the fundamental review of the results is as good as saying goodbye to the CREDIBLE, FREE, FAIR, AND TRANSPARENT electoral process and history will not be kind to INEC under Yakubu Mahmood’s leadership.

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