The Peoples Democratic Party( PDP) has called on Usman Baba, inspector general of police, to arrest and prosecute Adamawa State Police Commissioner, Adeniyi Afolabi, alongside Hudu Ari, resident electoral commissioner, for attempting to truncate democracy in Adamawa state.
Umar Damagum, acting national chairman of the PDP, while briefing Journalists on Tuesday, at the PDP National Secretariat, Abuja on the Conduct of the Adamawa State Governorship Election, also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately declare the result of the state governorship election rerun.
The PDP leader expressed worries over the delays, saying it is heightening tension in Adamawa State and is capable of triggering a serious breakdown of Law and Order in the State, which is already overstretched as a result of the many perverse activities of the heavily compromised Adamawa State resident electoral commissioner (REC).
Damagum described the action of the Adamawa State REC as “reckless, inexcusable and unpardonable assault on our Democracy, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, 2022, INEC guidelines and the manifest will of the people of Adamawa State, which they expressed in voting enmasse for the PDP.
“On Sunday, April 16, 2023 our Party addressed the Nation over the reprehensible conduct of the Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Hudu Ari, who attempted to subvert the will of the people of Adamawa State by illegally claiming that the defeated candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Aisha Binani, won the election, while collation of results was still on-going.
“This action by Hudu Yunusa Ari amounts to a “Civilian Coup” with the intention to take control and install an illegal government in Adamawa State contrary to the provision of Section 1 Sub-section 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“For clarity Section 1 Sub-section 2 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides
“The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this constitution”.
The PDP insists that such subversive conduct of Ari must not go unpunished, adding that “We restate our demand that INEC should without further delay hand over Ari to the police for investigation and prosecution.
“The Inspector General of Police should, as a matter of urgency, remove, investigate and sanction the Adamawa State Commissioner of Police for providing cover and enabling the perpetration of this grievous criminal act against our democracy.
“ The PDP, majority of Nigerians and indeed the International Community are now worried that in spite of the results of the election as obtained from the Polling Units, which show Governor Umaru Ahmadu Fintiri in clear lead, INEC has continued to delay the conclusion of official collation, announcement and declaration of the rightful winner of the election.
“It is therefore imperative and urgent that INEC does the needful and save Adamawa State from serious crisis by directing the Returning Officer, Prof. Mohammed Mele, to immediately conclude collation, declare the final results and return the rightful winner, Governor Umaru Ahmadu Fintiri as the duly elected Governor of Adamawa State”
In a related development, a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday, declined to hear an ex-parte application the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Aisha Ahmed, ( Binani), filed for an order to halt further action on the ongoing governorship election in Adamawa State.
Inyang Ekwo, while delivering his judgment, ordered Counsel to the plaintiff, Mohammed Sheriff, to address the Court on whether or not it has the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
Even though a lawyer, Afeez Matanmi, announced his appearance for the incumbent governor of Adamawa state, Ahmadu Fintiri, he was however not allowed to address the court since the APC candidate brought the action through an ex-parte application.
Aisha Ahmed had in the ex-parte application marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/510/2023, applied for leave of the court to allow her to seek, “an order of prohibition and certiorari removing to this court for the purpose of being set aside the administrative decision of the 1st Respondent made on 16th April 2023 in respect of the declaration of the winner from the gubernatorial election of Adamawa State held on the 18th of March, 2023 and the supplementary election held on 15th April 2023.”
She is also asking for an order of the court, “preventing the 1st Respondent, its agent, assign or any person acting on its behalf from taking any further steps towards the declaration of the winner from the gubernatorial election of Adamawa State held on the 18th of March and the supplementary election held on 15th April 2023, pending the determination of the application for judicial review”.
The APC is listed as the 2nd Applicant in the suit, while the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate/incumbent governor of the state, Fintiri, were cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents.
The APC candidate insisted that she was declared winner of the governorship election after the collation process was completed.
She argued that INEC has no powers to cancel or declare a declaration which has been made as null and void, adding that “ the crisis caused by the 2nd and 3rd Respondents led the 1st Respondent to announce that it had cancelled the initial declaration made by it on 16tu April 2023”.
“The only court with the power on a declaration made from the conduct of an election is only the Election Petition Tribunal set up by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended)”, the Applicants averred.
“Pursuant to the declaration of Senator Aisha Dahiru Ahmed as the winner of the gubernatorial election, any dis-satisfied candidate is to resort to the tribunal for redress if any.
“The 2nd Respondent, PDP, and the 3rd Respondent Ahmadu Fintiri, who lost in the election, resorted to fighting and causing a public disturbance which led to the beating and manhandling of one of the 1st respondent staff.
The Judge, thereafter, adjourned the case to April 26 for the Counsel to address the Court on the issue of jurisdiction
Meanwhile, the INEC on Tuesday called on the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to investigate and prosecute the embattled Adamawa State REC.
INEC made the request in a letter to the inspector general of police following its decision at a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
The commission in a tweet in its verified Twitter handle said: “At its meeting today, 18th April 2023, the commission discussed matters arising from the Adamawa Governorship election and decided to:
“Write to the Inspector-General of Police for the immediate investigation and possible prosecution of the REC for Adamawa State, Ari.
“Request the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to draw the attention of the appointing authority to the unwholesome behaviour of the REC for further action.
“The collation process shall resume at a time to be determined by the Returning Officer.”
Ari had declared Aisha Dahiru-Binani, the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as winner of the Adamawa State governorship re-run election while the coalition was still ongoing.
Consequently, the commission suspended the coalition and ordered the REC and other officials involved in what it described as: “Usurpation of the power of the Returning Officer and therefore null, void and of no effect” to immediately report to its headquarters in Abuja.
Rose Oriaran-Anthony, secretary to the commission in a letter on Monday asked the REC to steer clear from office and directed the administrative secretary to take full charge of INEC, Adamawa State with immediate effect.