The Adamawa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed the petition filed by the Action Alliance (AA) challenging the declaration of Ahmadu Fintiri as the winner of the April 16 governorship election.
The petitioner officially withdrew the petition, resulting in the dismissal of the case during a pre-hearing sitting in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, on Friday.
Three petitions was filed against the declaration of Fintiri of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner by the AA and its candidate, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Umar Ardo, as well as the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Senator Aishatu Binani Dahiru.
In addition to the charges of extensive violations of the electoral law and fraudulent voting practices, Binani contended that the court should validate Hudu Yunusa Ari’s declaration announcing her as the winner of the election.
The case of Action Alliance was dismissed after the applicant and their council filed a notice of withdrawal.
The People’s Democratic Party and its candidate Fintiri also filed a motion asking the tribunal to dismiss the case brought by the APC and its candidate Binani.
In SDP’s case, the attorney failed to produce witnesses. The hearing has been adjourned to July 21, 2023.
On April 18, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Governor Fintiri the winner of what some might describe as a drama-filled supplementary election in Adamawa State.
In the rerun, Fintiri polled 9,337 votes, besting Senator Aishatu ‘Binani’ Dahiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 6,513 votes.
At the end of the entire exercise, Fintiri polled 430,861 votes, defeating Binani, who got 398,738 votes.
With the March 18 governorship election declared inconclusive by INEC, the Commission rescheduled a supplementary election for April 16.
However, as the collation of the supplementary election was underway, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Hudu Yunusa Ari, prematurely declared Binani the winner, contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Section 25 of the Electoral Act, 2022, empowers only the returning officer to announce the result and declare the winner of an election at the state collation centre in the case of the election of a governor of a state.
Incidentally, results had been declared for only 10 of the 20 local government areas (LGAs) in the supplementary poll, which indicated Fintiri was leading, having won in seven LGAs next to Binani’s three.
The declaration by Ari was quickly followed by an acceptance speech by the APC candidate.
In response, angry opposition members took their anger out on an INEC national commissioner, whom they mistook for the REC, assaulting him.
In a swift response to Binani’s declaration as the ‘winner’ of the Adamawa governorship election, INEC said the pronouncement was of no effect.
Consequently, INEC suspended the collation of results of the supplementary election in Adamawa and invited the REC, Returning Officer, and all officials involved to report back to the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja.
The electoral body slammed the action of the Adamawa REC, saying it usurped the power of the Returning Officer.
Just last week, the electoral umpire filed a six-count charge against Ari.
According to the National commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, INEC, the charges were filed at the High Court in Yola, the state capital.
In a statement on Thursday, Okoye said the electoral body took the action after reviewing the case file from the police, which established a prima facie case against Ari.