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ADAMAWA: INEC counters Binani, says electoral officers didn’t hold meeting with govt

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has tackled the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa State, Aishatu ‘Binani’ Dahiru over claims that electoral officials colluded with the incumbent governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Fintiri.

In a statement today, INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, said the insinuations by Binani are fabrications and mischievous.

Binani, who as since approached the court to challenge the victory of Fintiri, had in a statement on Tuesday, claimed that some INEC national officers from Abuja held a night meeting in the Adamawa State Government House.

However, INEC said, “To set the record straight, no such visit or meeting took place let alone the compilation of any purported list of collation and returning officers. Such a meeting would have been contrary to the oath of neutrality that we all swore to.

“Moreover, every conscientious observer would have noticed that the Commission appointed and retained only one Returning Officer for the Governorship election who also doubled as the State Collation Officer for the Presidential Election (SCOPE).

“Like all Returning Officers nationwide, he was issued with a letter of appointment by the Commission and the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Adamawa State was duly informed. The list of Collation Officers was also forwarded to the State with every page of the list personally endorsed by the Chairman of the Commission well ahead of the arrival of the National Commissioners.”

Okoye further stated Adamawa was not in any way targeted in the deployment of national commissioners and other officials.

“In the case of Adamawa State where supplementary governorship election was held in 69 polling units, two National Commissioners were deployed while for Kebbi State involving 142 polling units, three National Commissioners were deployed.

“Similarly, one National Commissioner each was deployed to Sokoto, Zamfara, Imo, Rivers, Ekiti and Ogun States. This has been the standard practice of the Commission of which all RECS are informed in advance. Therefore, Adamawa State was not specifically targetted. In all other States, the RECS worked cooperatively with the National Commissioners except in Adamawa State for reasons that are now obvious to all,” the statement read.

INEC advised the public to “discountenance these insinuations as nothing more than a claptrap”.

“We also advise those behind the mischief to desist forthwith as such fabrications have endangered the lives of our officials (both ad hoc and regular) engaged in legitimate election duties. We expect well-meaning citizens to act within the bounds of propriety and decency,” the statement concluded.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa, Hudu Yunusa, Ari had on Sunday usurped the powers of the Returning Officer in the state, Mohammed Mele and announced Binani as the winner of the dramatic poll. INEC subsequently nullified the declaration, suspended collation of results and barred Ari from office.

INEC resumed collation on Tuesday and at the end of the entire exercise, said Fintiri polled 430,861 votes, defeating Binani who got 398,738 votes. INEC also declared Fintiri as the winner of the keenly contested poll.

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