The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday announced that the by-election for the governorship seat in Adamawa state (north-eastern Nigeria) will hold in 69 polling stations in 20 of the 21 local government areas of the state.
Today, all eyes will be on the two main contenders: Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Aishatu Dahiru, popularly known as Binani, the governor of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
PREMIUM TIMES reports that INEC declared the March 18 governorship election inconclusive after the election was canceled in 69 polling stations in the state due to violence and excessive voting.
After the first ballot last month, Mr. Fintiri got 421,524 votes and Binani got 390,275 votes, thus trailing by 31,249 votes.
The other candidates in the election have no chance of victory. Among others, there is Umar Ardo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who came a distant third with 6,865 votes.
They include Sa’ad Tahir of NNPP, Mohammed Shuwa of ADC, Baba Inna of PRP, Husseini Tahir of AA, Babangida Umaru of ADP, Yahya Cholli of APGA, Babajo Bello of APM, Adam Isa of APP, Abba Maina of NRM and Maigana. Musa of YPP and Dadou Amron of ZLP.
Among the gubernatorial candidates, only Mustapha Otumba of the Labor Party withdrew from the race on February 23. He declared for Binani.
Since the election was declared inconclusive, none of the fringe candidates has withdrawn from the re-election, despite having no chance of victory.
Herculean task for Binani
Binani faces a herculean task to become Nigeria’s first woman elected governor of the state.
He is currently trailing the incumbent by 31,249 votes. However, in the 69 polling stations where the elections were cancelled, the total number of registered voters is 42,785, while the Permanent Voter Cards collected in these electoral units were 36,935.
This means that Binani will have to guarantee that almost all voters will vote in the run-off and must get around 90 percent of the votes.
The possibility to apply for an election
The APC candidate, earlier in an interview on Channels Television, asked INEC to scrutinize the results of the governorship elections in some local governments where it disagreed with the number of votes the PDP candidate got.
He accused the governor and the PDP of using violence to manipulate the election, alleging the absence of INEC ad-hoc workers in some polling stations.
Binani said that while he is not afraid of running against the incumbent governor in the by-elections, there is a need for a review of the previous results.
“I am never afraid but what I am asking is that INEC conduct a review of the said LGAs so that they can come up with the true figures of all the candidates.
“That’s all I’m asking for and as soon as we do that, we’d be home and dry and then we’ll be confident to get back on the field. That’s all I’m asking,” he said.
INEC is, however, going ahead with the by-election without reviewing the already declared results, thus giving Binani the opportunity to challenge the results at the election petition tribunal.
On his part, Mr. Fintiri told the BBC Hausa service that he is confident of winning the rescheduled elections.
“I have never lost sleep over the decisive election declared by INEC because I am confident that I will win at the end of it all. I have this belief, God Almighty will give me victory.
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“The same thing happened in the 2019 election. The election was declared inconclusive by INEC, and the margin of votes between me and my opponent was less than the invalidated votes.
“The margin for 2019 was 32,000 votes then and the canceled votes were over 40,000. When the crucial election was held, only 10,000 of the 40,000 voted and I got almost 10,000 votes,” Mr Fintiri said.
INEC, Police trained
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa, Hudu Ari, on Wednesday said the commission is set for the governorship election. He told political party leaders that only one party agent accredited by the commission will be allowed in each polling unit and polling center during the election.
Mr. Ari said the commission is committed to holding free, credible and inclusive elections, as it has no candidate. He called on the relevant security agencies to arrest, investigate and prosecute anyone involved in violent behavior, including statements capable of inciting violence.
Also, the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Muhammad Bard, warned politicians and their supporters against disrupting the April 15 governorship election and state constituency elections.
Mr. Barde who spoke at a meeting of the Electoral Security Advisory Committee at the Adamawa INEC polling center Yola on Thursday said the police would be tough on supporters of violence.
We promise to provide adequate security for INEC to conduct the exercise peacefully, the police commissioner said.
Speaking at the event, the Director of State Security Service in Adamawa State, Babagana Bulama, expressed his agency’s readiness.
He said apart from their staff on the ground, they are also expecting reinforcements from their national headquarters and from Gombe and Taraba states.
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