Adamawa governorship Polls: Postponing victory party
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Adamawa State, Alhaji Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, was close to winning the governorship election on March 9, 2019, based on the records of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of areas where the election was annulled.
The Adamawa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dissatisfied with the decision of the returning officer, Professor Andrew Haruna, has directed INEC to declare Alhaji Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, winner, saying the returning officer erred by declaring the election inconclusive.
While addressing journalists, last week in Yola, the former two-term Governor of Adamawa State, Mr. Boni Haruna, said the commission did not properly guide the returning officer before he announced the election inconclusive.He said the ground advanced by the returning officer for declaring the election in the 44 polling units with 40,988 registered voters inconclusive is not correct because only those that collected their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) are classified as eligible voters.
Haruna said INEC records showed that only 31,027 registered voters out of the 40,988 in those 44 polling units collected their PVCs, pointing out that since the PDP led with 32,476, the party should by law be declared winner of the election.
“To be an eligible voter is only when your PVC is with you, so, since the number of those that collected their PVCs is lower than the votes Fintiri led Bindow, the APC candidate with, INEC as unbiased umpire should correct the error of the returning officer and declare Fintiri winner,” he stated.
To add their voice to what some political analysts have described as attempts to rape democracy in the state, the leadership of the opposition PDP, Adamawa State chapter, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, not to dent his image by supporting Governor Bindow’s alleged plan to use the State High Court to stop INEC from conducting the supplementary election slated for March 23.
The State Chairman of PDP, Barrister Tahir Shehu, told journalists last week that since election was conducted, no court outside Election Petitions Tribunal has the power to entertain any issue arising from the elections, pointing out that court can only handle pre-election matters and not post-election issues.He said the president should stand by his words that the people should vote for anybody of their choice.
“We urge the President to play the role of a father that he is and should not support illegality because someone wants to remain in power. The President should ask Bindow to give account of how he spent the N400b statutory allocation and also to explain the N150b debt in less than four years, this will help the President to assess him,” he said.There are signals that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state may boycott the supplementary governorship election.
While addressing journalists last week in Yola, APC National Vice-chairman Northeast Zone, Mr. Mustafa Salihu, accused the military, police and other security agents of conniving with PDP in the state to rig the governorship election. A bitter looking Salihu, who alleged that INEC failed to use card readers in some polling units and that security agents refused to act when cases of violence were reported to them, said his party has rejected the result.
“I want to state here without fear or favour that INEC and the security agents have compromised. They turned their back on all our reports of irregularities during the Governorship and State Assembly Elections in Adamawa State. We cannot accept these results,” he said. Salihu who lost Hong, his home local government, during the presidential and governorship elections claimed that there were bloody violence in his council during the polls.
The embattled Governor’s battle to secure his second term ticket took another dimension on last Wednesday, as a ghost governorship candidate, Mr. Eric Dollars of MRDD purportedly secured what some lawyers described as kangaroo court judgment from a High Court in Yola, to restrain INEC from conducting the supplementary governorship election.
The alleged Kangaroo judgment was celebrated by the Governor’s supporters to prove the allegations by PDP that the Governor sponsored the case. However, the celebration was cut short when INEC dismissed the judgment as an ordinary judiciary trade fair that has no legal status to stop the Commission from performing its constitutional duties.
The Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barrister Kassim Gaidam told journalists that the Commission will go ahead with the conduct of the supplementary election, saying the court lacks constitutional powers to stop the Commission from performing its duties. Kassim said: “Although, we are not aware of any court restraining INEC, however, let me tell you that court order will not stop any election.”He cited Section 87 subsection 10 of the Electoral Act to buttress his points.
INEC’s reaction was sequel to an order sought by the MRDD and its candidate, alleging that the party’s logo was omitted in the inconclusive governorship election.While commenting on the judgment, Barrister John Audu, described the ruling as a disgrace to the judiciary, saying no court has powers over post-election matters. He noted that only Election Petitions Tribunal adjudicates on such matters.
The Guardian learnt that the last move by Bindow to recover the governorship ticket failed woefully as his attempt to see President Buhari hit the rock and his meeting with the Vice President Yomi Osinbanjo ended in a deadlock, as the Vice President allegedly told the Governor to surrendered to the wishes of the people and accept his fate.The Question begging for answer is how Bindow will win the supplementary polls, when the entire votes in the market is only 31,027, while Fintiri is already leading with 32,476 votes?
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