WITHOUT any tinge of optimism, the Adamawa State gubernatorial election re-run which expectedly ended in a fiasco had long been anticipated by political juggernauts for many obvious reasons. Apart from INEC’s earlier declaration of the governorship as inconclusive in March due to the cancellation of election in 69 polling units in Fufore local government of the state, the election was generally marred by large scale mayhem.
PRIOR to the March election, Adamawa State had long been identified as a potential violent political spot and theatre of power play because of forces at play who were bent on capturing power at all cost in the state.
ADAMAWA State is the home state of Aisha Buhari, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President and Presidential flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
IT is this climax of power play between two elephants that Hudu Yunusi Ari, the Resident Electoral Commissioner brazenly usurped the powers of the returning officer and illegally declared Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (a.k.a. Binani of the All Progressives Congress the winner of the election.
MANY Nigerians are embarrassed and still shelled shocked by the undemocratic conduct and civil coup detat of Yunusi Ari now on the run who on April 15, 2023, he sneaked like (a) thief into the governorship collation centre to declare Binani the winner of the governorship poll.
HIS conduct is a brazen assault and affront on the constitution and the Electoral Act by declaring one of the candidates in the Adamawa State gubernatorial rerun the winner when the result of the election was still being collated.
THE unilateral declaration of a winner by Ari when one has not been officially approved by the lawful returning officer showed Ari’s desperation to anoint Dahiru as his chosen gubernatorial candidate. Ari’s misconduct smacks of a cleverly rehashed electoral coup de tat aided by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed Barde who from all indications oiled the perfidy with security cover.
WE hope the Inspector-General of Police will be able and also willing to uncover the shady and perfidious Adamawa State gubernatorial conundrum considering the powerful networks of the forces at play egging Ari’s subversion.
THE investigation team set up by the Inspector-General Alhaji Baba Alkali should dig deep into the role played by the Commissioner of Police instead of merely redeploying him to another state in addition to the roles played by some yet to be identified security and INEC personnel.
THE Hope commends the INEC for its prompt intervention and suspension of Ari whose misconduct has dented the image of the commission. The odious scandal which Ari has heaped on the commission must be thoroughly investigated to flush out the likes of Ari and other faceless collaborators still lurking in the commission. As a sensitive National Institution and electoral umpire, INEC must act responsibly as it cannot afford any molecule of distrust by harbouring men and women of doubt in the establishment.
THIS the commission must do by purging itself of clueless elements and political jobbers to avoid another scandal by the likes of Ari who may be acting as plants and moles in sensitive institutions to spy for their pay masters.
WE enjoin political elite across political broad not to undermine the country’s political process through their desperation for power.
NO doubt, a new vista in our democratic process has been thrown up by section 64 of the electoral Act which allows any INEC officer to validly announce the result of an election.
THIS Act which evidently allowed Ari to break the law cannot be the purpose of enacting the law and its ambiguity must be urgently reworked by the legislature and judiciary before the nation is entrapped by any constitutional crisis.
A constitutional reform is long overdue and desirous to give unfettered independence to INEC to free itself from some embarrassing encumbrances ranging from appointment of its Chairman and Resident Electoral Commissioners by any President in power.
PRESENTLY, the Resident Electoral Commissioners in the country are known to be sympathizers and card carrying members of the ruling party in power. This lopsidedness does not enhance the integrity of the commission and something must be done to reverse the trend as it provides easy platform to compromise INEC staff.
THE Nigerian elites must take responsibility for the chaos in our electoral process and proactively take a cue from other sane climes where free and fair elections which are the core values of democratic culture are taken for granted.
THE Hope subscribes to and vigorously demands for the engagement of men and women of proven integrity to power all cadres of our electoral process as the surest answer to the incessant electoral theft which has continually mar our quest for a free and fair election. This is the only way to protect the integrity of results in the country and ensure that election results are accepted and respected by voters and candidates.
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