No regrets declaring Binani winner, says Adamawa REC

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By Kingsley Omonobi & Ibrahim Hassan, ABUJA

Suspended Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Hudu Yunusa-Ari, has been arrested by the Police in Abuja.

He was picked up, yesterday, 15 days after the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, petitioned the Inspector-General of Police to arrest and prosecute him for declaring Senator Aishatu Ahmed (Binani) of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the winner of the Adamawa State governorship election, while the results were still being collated.

Yunusa-Ari’s arrest came shortly after he declared that he had no regrets about declaring the APC governorship candidate winner in controversial circumstances.

The Police in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the arrest of the suspended REC, who was declared wanted over the Adamawa governorship poll controversy.

Adejobi said: “The Nigeria Police Force hereby confirms the arrest of Barr. Hudu Yunusa-Ari, the Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, who was alleged to have announced the candidate of the All Progressives Congress winner of the gubernatorial elections during the recently concluded supplementary elections.

“This followed calls for his arrest and investigation by the Independent National Electoral Commission on the basis of alleged impropriety in the course of supplementary gubernatorial polls in the state.

“Barrister Ari was arrested by the Police Election Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Team in Abuja on Tuesday 2nd May, 2023 (yesterday).

Police detain, grill suspended REC

“He is currently in Police custody and is being grilled to ascertain the motives and motivations behind his alleged improper actions during the supplementary elections in Adamawa State.

“In addition, other officials and individuals culpable in the saga are being interrogated by the team.

Interrogate other officials fingered

“The Inspector-General of Police has given clear assurance that every individual involved/indicted in the matter will be apprehended and investigated in line with the provisions of the law for possible prosecution.

“The Inspector-General of Police has assured of the commitment of the Force to ensure that justice is served in this case and that all guilty parties are brought to justice.”

‘No regrets declaring Binani winner’

Meanwhile, Yunusa-Ari has said he had no regrets about announcing Aisha Binani winner of the April 15 governorship election in the state.

Yunusa-Ari had stirred controversy by declaring Aisha Binani Dahiru as the winner when the collation of the results was yet to be completed on April 16.

INEC on April 17 declared Yunusa-Ari’s announcement null and void and summoned the REC and the Adamawa governorship election Chief Returning Officer, Professor Muhammed Mele, to its headquarters in Abuja.

Mele completed the collation of results and announced Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the winner of the poll on April 18.

Subsequently, the electoral umpire, on April 18, wrote to the Nigeria Police Force to prosecute Yunusa-Ari over the electoral infraction.

On April 20, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the suspension of the Adamawa REC, pending the completion of an investigation by the police.

Yunusa-Ari in hiding

A day later, INEC said it was not aware of the whereabouts of Yunusa-Ari.

However, speaking in an interview published by BBC Hausa, yesterday, Yunusa-Ari said he wasn’t offered money by anyone to make the announcement.

The suspended REC said he never went into hiding, adding that he would honour the invitation of the police.
I didn’t collect a kobo, N2bn bribe allegation’s social media hype

“I didn’t ask Binani and Fintiri for a single penny. It is against my religion to collect money from someone to help him do anything and I swear to God, claims that I was offered N2 billion are just baseless allegations and rumours. Where will I take N2 billion to? I saw on social media that I was offered N2 billion.

“I don’t regret announcing Binani winner of the election. Anything you do according to the law, you won’t regret it.

“I wrote a letter to INEC which they said they won’t accept but I’m sure they’ve accepted and the invitation sent by the police is mandatory for me to honour it. I never went into hiding. I will honour the invitation of the police.”

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