JUST IN: Binani drags INEC to court for cancelling her declaration as winner of Adamawa governorship election

The controversies surrounding the Adamawa State governorship election have taken a new dimension as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Aisha Binani Dahiru, dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Senator Dahiru is contending that INEC has no power to cancel the declaration of a candidate as winner of an election, adding that the power resides in the election tribunal, not INEC.

In an exparte application dated April 17, 2023, Senator Dahiru is also seeking a court order to stop INEC and its agents from taking any further steps towards the declaration of the winner of the elections pending the determination of her application for judicial review.

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Recall that the Adamawa governorship supplementary election was conducted on Saturday following the declaration of the March 18 poll as inconclusive over alleged irregularities.

The collation of election results was suspended till Sunday after results from 10 LGAs were announced.

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However, INEC discontinued the exercise after Hudu Yunusa-Ari, the resident electoral commissioner, declared Binani, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner.

Yunusa-Ari made the declaration when outstanding results were yet to be announced — but the electoral umpire subsequently described his action as null and void.

The electoral body said the declaration of a winner is the responsibility of the returning officer.

In her grounds of argument, the Senator stated that after the collation of results, INEC (the first respondent) declared her the winner of the elections but that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri (2nd & 3rd respondents) resorted to fighting and causing a public disturbance which led to the beating and manhandling of an INEC officer.

This crisis, she said, led INEC to cancel the initial declaration which it had no power to do, as only the election petition tribunal is vested with such powers.

Senator Binani contends that by cancelling her declaration, INEC had usurped the powers of the election petition tribunal which is the only court vested with powers to reverse a declaration in the conduct of an election.

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In documents put before the court, Senator Dahiru, through her lawyers led by, Hussaini Zakariyau, SAN, said a judicial review exists to enable the superior court to check the actions and decisions of inferior courts as well as the legislative and administrative arms of government, including agencies and public officers.

The declaration of Aisha Binani as the governor-elect of Adamawa state has been described as illegal and provocative. The description of the action of Adamawa state’s INEC REC was given by the governor of the state, Ahmadu Fintiri.

Fintiri has also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene against the misconduct by INEC as an electoral umpire.

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