The Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC) has condemned the brutalization of one of its national commissioners who was deployed to Adamawa State for the supplementary governorship poll held on Saturday. INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, expressed his outrage during a press briefing in Birnin Kebbi on Sunday.
Okoye revealed that two national commissioners were deployed to Adamawa State for the election, and one of them was subjected to brutal treatment, including being stripped naked. He emphasized that such behavior would not be tolerated, and he called on security agencies to identify and apprehend the culprits.
“A national commissioner cannot be treated as if he or she is a common criminal,” Okoye stated, adding that the commission will not allow such actions to go unpunished. He further highlighted that a former Vice Chancellor of Usman Dan Fodio University, who is a senior citizen, was also stripped naked and dragged in the incident.
Okoye also revealed that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Adamawa, Yunusa Ari, had arrived in Abuja due to an invalid declaration of Aisha ‘Binani’ Dahiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the governorship election. He clarified that the REC had exceeded his delegated authority by making a declaration and return without proper authorization.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Adamawa State exercises what we call delegated authority; power delegated to him by the Independent National Electoral Commissioner. Acting as collation and returning officer are not part of the powers delegated to him,” Okoye explained.
Furthermore, Okoye announced that the collation of results from the supplementary election had been suspended. The controversy arose when the INEC REC in Adamawa declared Binani as the winner of the election over the incumbent Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), despite Binani trailing in the results from the announced 10 Local Government Areas (LGAs) before the suspension of the collation exercise on Saturday night.
As per the constitution, the returning officer for the Adamawa governorship election, Mele Lamido, is the rightful official empowered to declare the winner of the election. The INEC has called for transparency, accountability, and adherence to due process in the electoral process, and demanded that those responsible for the attack on its national commissioner be arrested, investigated, and prosecuted.