Binani Declaration: 5 Things You Should Know
The declaration of the Adamawa Gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress(APC), Aisha “Binani” Dahiru as a winner of the state gubernatorial election has sparked controversy in several quarters across the nation. The declaration which did not go down well with opposition parties and non-governmental organisations has reportedly threatened the state’s peace.
Reports say the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Adamawa, Hudu Yunusa-Ari declared Binani as the winner during the early hours of Sunday. In this piece, we will examine 5 things you need to know about the election.
Adamawa elections were first held on the 18th of March 2023
Adamawa gubernatorial elections first took place on the 18th of March 2023 alongside other states’ gubernatorial elections. However, the electoral commission declared the state’s election inconclusive. INEC noted that it declared the elections inconclusive because the cancelled votes were more than the margin of victory between Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the runner-up, Aisha Dahiru of the APC.
According to reports, Fintiri defeated Binani with over 30,000 votes at the end of the official results tally. The race was described as closely contested between the incumbent governor and Binani, a serving senator, popular in the state for her philanthropy. After declaring the election inconclusive, INEC announced the 15th of April, 2023 as the date for supplementary elections in the state.
Hudu Yunusa-Ari’s declaration had no legal backing
The collation of results for the 15th of April, 2023 supplementary gubernatorial election was not concluded when Yunusa-Ari declared Binani as the winner of the polls. It is important to note here that the Resident Electoral Commissioner has no constitutional right to declare a political candidate the winner of an election. The declaration is reserved solely for the Returning Officer for the State, Mele Lamido.
By making such a declaration, Yunusa-Ari violated Sections 64 & 65 Electoral Act 2022 & Part 3 of the INEC guidelines. Section 65 reads in part: (1)The decision of the returning officer shall be final on any question arising from or relating to—(a) unmarked ballot paper (b) rejected ballot paper; and (c) declaration of scores of candidates and the return of a candidate. Newsmen reports that the errant REC may face 36 months imprisonment on conviction.
Fintiri leads at Adamawa polls
Newsmen gathered that before the collation exercise was suspended on Saturday night, results from 10 Local Government Areas had been announced. According to the announced results, Fintiri was leading while Binani was trailing behind. This means that results from about 10 local government areas had not been collated when Binani was declared the winner by the REC.
Reacting to the development, Fintiri expressed confidence that the governorship election in the state won’t be compromised with the technology deployed by INEC. He hinted that results from 69 polling units of the state have been uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV). Fintiri’s party, PDP has however called for the arrest of Yunusa-Ari demanding that an investigation be launched to determine who he is working with and for.
INEC cancels Binani’s win
In a statement issued by its spokesperson, Festus Okoye, INEC stated that Yunusa-Ari’s declaration was “null, void and of no effect.” The statement reads in part, “The attention of the Commission has been drawn to a purported declaration of a winner in the Adamawa Governorship election by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) even when the process has clearly not been concluded…Consequently, the collation of the result of the supplementary election held yesterday 15th of April 2023 is suspended forthwith. The REC, Returning Officer and all involved are hereby invited to the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja immediately.”
Binani’s acceptance speech
Shortly after being illegally declared the governor-elect of the state, Binani gave an acceptance speech. Addressing the people of Adamawa, she said, “……You’ve made history by electing the first female governor in our dear country, Nigeria. This will no doubt broaden political participation by encouraging our daughters, sisters, aunties, mothers and indeed the girl child.”
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