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Adamawa: Fintiri’s declaration has exonerated INEC of wrong doings –Group



An interest group which believes in the advancement of democracy and good governance in Nigeria, the Nigerian Forum for Democracy, has said that the final declaration of Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Fintiri as the winner of Saturday’s supplementary election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has shown that the commission had no skeleton in its cupboard over the conduct of polls in the country.

Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC in the state, Hudu Yunusa-Ari, had on Sunday stoked controversy when he announced Senator Aisha Dahiru Ahmed, popularly called Binani of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the winner of the election, thus elicited protests from members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP present at the state collation centre in Yola, the state capital.

Yunusa-Ari was later asked by the INEC to stay away from its office in Adamawa while the Administrative Secretary takes charge until further notice.

The group, in a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Bala Garba James; National Secretary, Mr. James Adebayo Olu and the Public Relations Officer,
Chief Edem Moses, and made available to journalists on Wednesday, said it was aware of how some politicians it described as anti-democratic elements tried to arm twist electoral process in the country.

“Of note is the development in Adamawa State governorship election which was marred with controversies, but which the electoral umpire insisted on doing the right thing no matter which ox is gored,” it stated.

The group maintained that INEC’s swift response to the illegal declaration of Adamawa State governorship election results was a proof that the commission’s boss has no skeleton in his cupboard.

It went further: “The INEC national chairman read a riot act in his pre-election briefing to all the Resident Electoral Commissioners, REC after they went through orientation and handed with guidelines of how elections should be conducted across states. This shows the frantic effort of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s conduct of free and fair election, irrespective of pitfalls as a result of some unforeseen circumstances.”

The group was emphatic that INEC’s fair disposition lead to emergence of a sizeable number of opposition lawmakers, as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP have 35 seats, Labour Party, LP 8, the New Nigeria Political Party, NNPP, the Social Democratic Party, SDP, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and the Young Progressives Congress, YPP have one senators-elect each, awaiting inauguration in the first week of June.

“The opposition political parties also did well in the lower legislative chamber as well as State Houses of assembly across states.

“With the general elections concluded with runoffs on Saturday, the Forum expressed optimism that the proposed ‘Electoral Offences Commission’ would complement INEC’s effort, if passed into law,” it stated, calling on the Nigerian parliament to pass the bill into law in the interest of free and fair election in future.

It commended the INEC for conducting one of the best elections since the return of democracy to the country in 1999, believing that this year’s general elections were organized by the electoral umpire in such a way that they were generally peaceful and recorded less casualties compared with other previous ones.

The Forum, however, noted that the peaceful conduct of the elections was not without enormous challenges faced by the commission despite the amended Electoral Act, 2022 which was meant to aid the electoral processes.

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