I Did Not Commit Any Offence, Suspended Adamawa REC Writes IGP From Hideout
Suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Adamawa State, Barrister Hudu Yunusa-Ari has written a letter to the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, denying claim of trying to scuttle a democratic process.
In the four-page letter dated April 20, the suspended Adamawa REC claimed he acted in accordance with the powers conferred on him by the Electoral Act as the Chief Collation Officer in Adamawa State by declaring the candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC) as winner of the governorship election in the State.
Ari accused two National Commissioners deployed to the State to supervise the April 15 supplementary election, of collecting bribe from Governor Ahmadu Fintiri to declare him winner of the governorship election in Adamawa State He insisted that he tried to “save democracy” by declaring the candidate of the APC, Aishatu Dahiru (Binani) as winner of the governorship election, even though it was done before the collation was completed.
Ari also said the Chief Collation Officer in the State, uploaded results on the IREV portal which were not signed by him.
INEC Chairman, Director General of the DSS and the National Security Advisor were copied in the letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police.
The letter reads, “You may wish to know that there is no better time than now to update the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and all concerned Nigerians on the conduct of the 15th April, 2023 supplementary elections in Adamawa State.
“It is against this background that you sent two National Commissioners, Dr. Baba Bila and Prof. Abdullahi Zuru to assist me in the conduct of the re-run elections in Adamawa State. | hope this was a confirmation that you wanted the Commission to conduct the elections to reflect the collective aspirations of the people of the State.
“At the end of the day, the actions of the two National Commissioners left much to be desired. The Commissioners held a meeting with my management staff in my absence and I did not know the outcome of the meeting and there was a sudden move to tamper with the list of Collation Officers (COs) earlier released for the rerun election.
“On the day of election, before the sensitive and non-sensitive materials were to be distributed across the affected Local Governments and polling units, I received a security report from the Commissioner of Police that Boko Haram insurgents from neighboring states were recruited by some politicians to cart away sensitive materials and disrupt the elections.
“According to the report, the sensitive materials were not expected to leave the INEC office on the 14th April, 2023 until the day of election, which was on the 15th April, 2023 as shown in the attached photocopy of the letter from the Commissioner of Police, Adamawa State as Annex Al and A2.
“After the first letter from the Police Commissioner, another letter came from Police updating me that the security threat is still high as some Local Government Collation centers will be attacked and as such the Police advise that all collations from Registration Areas (RAs) and Local Government centers should be done at the State level, which was the INEC headquarters Annex, Adamawa State. Attached is the photocopy of the second letter from the Commissioner of Police as Annex B.
“In line with the security advice, I directed the Electoral Officers (EOs) and Local Government Collation officers to ensure that Results Collations should be done at a centralized INEC ANNEX OFFICE IN DOUGIREI, Yola
“However, at this point, the National Commissioners quickly and secretly gave out conflicting counter directives to the EOs that collation should be done in the Local Government Areas with an instruction that NEW LGA COLLATION OFFICERS which | am not aware of will be sent to them.
“This is without my knowledge or authorization as the Resident Electoral Commissioner as recognized by laws establishing INEC and the Electoral act.
“In the evening, when I was preparing for state collation, all seats for ICCES (Interagency Consultative Committee on election Security) members were set, I got to the place and discovered that my name was replaced with that of the Administrative Secretary to take charge of collation.
“I then asked the National Commissioners to explain why they would exclude me from the process of collating results. But there was no explanation. After some time, the National Commissioners declared that I was nowhere to be found.
“Immediately after the announcement, someone called me and informed me about the development. So around 1:00 am on Sunday 16th April, 2023, I came back to the collation center and saw some people sleeping including the two National Commissioners.
“I addressed them that I was still the Resident Electoral Commissioner and that all stakeholders for the re-run election should return to the collation center by 11:00 am on Sunday, 16th April, 2023.