Just In : Fleeing Adamawa REC writes police from hideout, insist Aisha Binani ‘won’ governorship election



Just In : Fleeing Adamawa REC writes police from hideout, insist Aisha Binani ‘won’ governorship election

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Suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner Hudu Yunusa Ari, currently in hiding, has insisted without evidence that Aisha Binani won the 2023 governorship election in Adamawa, according to a letter he sent to the nation’s top security agencies. In the lengthy missive received at the Force Headquarters on April 20, copied also to the director-general of the State Security Service (SSS), National Security Adviser (NSA) and the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Ari asserted that the two national commissioners, Baba Bila and Abdullahi Zuru, who had been tasked to assist him with the supplementary election on April 15, were secretly working with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the results.


Mr Yunusa Ari has been on the run since April 16, minutes after he suddenly declared Mrs Ahmed winner while collation in the supplementary exercise was still underway. The INEC chief did not present any evidence to support his declaration, which he appeared to have made offhand. He was seen later that day leaving the state in a chartered flight and has not been seen ever since. INEC headquarters in Abuja subsequently nullified Mr Yunusa Ari’s action, summoned him to Abuja and asked the police and other security agencies to take him into custody. The agency later concluded the election and declared Ahmadu Fintiri of the PDP winner. President Muhammadu Buhari also ordered the immediate arrest of Mr Yunusa Ari for the illegal declaration, which sparked nationwide anxiety.
It was not immediately clear whether or not security agencies know Mr Yunusa Ari’s location, especially after he managed to write letters to federal authorities.

In a statement to The Gazette, INEC spokesman, Festus Okoye, said Mr Yunusa Ari should turn himself in to the commission or police, who already have a file outlining the offences he committed in the line of duty. “He should report and answer to the electoral infractions and make his allegations, and it should form part of police investigation,” Mr Okoye told The Gazette Tuesday night. Advertisements “The commission is not interested in his ‘fictional letters from hiding’,” Mr Okoye added. “If he has a narration, he should make them to the police. Alternatively, he can report to the commission and the commission will take him to the police.” SSS spokesman Peter Afunanya that the secret police had said it was investigating an attack “in which someone suspected to be its staff was allegedly manhandled by some political miscreants in Adamawa State.” The statement appeared to corroborate Mr Yunusa Ari’s assertion that an SSS operative was attacked by police officers attached to the Government House and “thugs loyal to the PDP”. Advertisements Mr Afunanya, however, did not respond when asked whether there has been any new development since his last statement released over a week ago, particularly if the secret police has been able to track Mr Yunusa Ari’s hideout. The police said on Tuesday that they received further instruction from INEC headquarters about Mr Yunusa Ari’s offences and immediately intensified the manhunt. A spokesman for the NSA did not return a request seeking comments on Tuesday night.

Mr Yunusa Ari, a legal practitioner, said he belatedly uncovered that the INEC officials held secret meetings with Mr Fintiri at the Government House Yola at about 8:31 p.m. on Friday, the night before the election, where they perfected plans to change the collation officers and alter the election results. Advertisements On election day, the state’s commissioner of police furnished him with findings of a plot that exposed how some politicians had hired Boko Haram terrorists to snatch ballot boxes and disrupt the polls, Mr Ari’s account of the matter said. In an update the same day, the police said the security threats were still high as the insurgents had planned to attack various local governments to disrupt collation. Mr Ari was then advised to move the collation from local government areas to the state’s INEC headquarters, he said in the four-page letter. The electoral commissioner said he quickly complied and directed that all ad-hoc staff conduct collation at the commission’s headquarters office in Dougirei, Yola. He said he did not realise that the two assisting national commissioners had plans of their own as they “quietly and secretly gave out conflicting counter directives” to the electoral officers, adding that the counter-directives also said that collation should be done in the local government areas with new local government collation officers that he was “not aware of.” “This is without my knowledge or authorisation as the Resident Electoral Commissioner as recognised by laws establishing INEC and Electoral Act,” Mr Yunusa Ari said, absolving himself of complicity and any wrongdoing. He would later find out Messrs Bila and Zuru flouted his order and quietly collated results at local governments using “self-appointed, unapproved and illegal collation officers

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