Governorship election: Atiku fumes, says he has no confidence in INEC

The 2023 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has expressed a lack of confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), following the conduct of the governorship and state assembly elections.

Atiku said INEC has not proven it can perform better than its previous conduct of elections.

The former Vice President spoke in Jimeta, Yola area of Adamawa State on Saturday, March 18, 2023.

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“I still don’t believe in INEC. I have seen nothing up to now to believe that their performance will be better in how they handle this election than the last one,” he said.

Atiku lost the 2023 presidential election to Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

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Following his defeat, he headed to court to contest the outcome of the presidential election, which he claimed was flawed.

Meanwhile, Security operatives have cordoned off a house in the high-brow area of Dougirei in Yola metropolis after the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship campaign team raised the alarm over alleged doctoring of result sheets and thumb printing of ballot papers by notable Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains. 

A Daily Trust reporter witnessed a combined team of soldiers and policemen restricting access to the vicinity as search for possible evidence of rigging in the house continued into Saturday night.

The APC governorship candidate, Aishatu Dahiru Binani was seen around the building while her supporters trooped to the scene before she finally pleaded with them to leave.

A press release from the Binani Governorship Campaign Organisation signed by Martins Yanatham Dickson expressed concern that security had found a house being used for thumb printing and stuffing of ballot boxes in favour of the PDP candidate and the incumbent governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to take decisive action against the perpetrators.

The statement read, “The Binani Campaign organization is worried that a private residence behind Muna Hotel at Dougirei in Jimeta Yola is currently being used allegedly by the Adamawa State candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 18th governorship election, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, to thumbprint and stuff ballot papers in boxes, in a desperate move to rig the ongoing governorship election.

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“The heads of security agencies in the state capital are presently at the scene. We are calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission to swiftly respond along with the relevant security agencies and stop this ugly and desperate move to temper with the integrity of the Adamawa Governorship election”.

However, a statement by the Director General, Media and Communication in the Governor’s office, Solomon Kumangar, refuted the allegation, explaining that the house in question functioned as the situation room for the PDP campaign organisation for documentation and monitoring of the election, accusing Binani of cooking up lies after sensing imminent defeat.

“The property in question houses the Situation Room of the PDP Presidential and Governorship Campaigns Council for the monitoring, Documentation and field location Coordination. Furthermore, the DSS, police and several security personnel had this evening stormed the Situation Room in gestapo style and turned the place upside down on the excuse that it was being used for clandestine purposes.

“We are compelled to state that the latest act of aggression is meant to provoke the governor into reacting in a manner that is at variance with his usual democratic posture. We are also aware that in a desperate and futile attempt to prove this false alarm, the APC could use this raid to plant exhibits and turn round to accuse the ruling party of something that is completely false. Finally, the world is watching and the people of Adamawa State will not fold their arms and watch the mandate that they freely gave to Governor Fintiri to be brazenly truncated.“

A security source told Daily Trust that the commander of the 23 Armoured Brigade Yola, the Commissioner of Police and the Director of the Directorate of Security Service and other top security officials in the state were inside the house but were yet to come across any evidence so far as the search was still in progress.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Sulaiman Nguroje confirmed that security were investigating the matter while the house had been surrounded.

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