The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has slated Wednesday 29th, Thursday 30th and Friday 31st March 2023 for the issuance of Certificate of Return (CoR) to governors and deputy governors-elect as well as House of Assembly members-elect.
This is just as tension continues to rise in Adamawa and Kebbi states as major political actors engaged in trade blame over the propriety or otherwise of the governorship poll in the affected states where the electoral body declared the elections inconclusive.
INEC gives CoR
A statement at the weekend by National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Committee Festus Okoye, said the presentation of the CoR to the elected governors and others would take place at the INEC offices in each state of the federation.
“The Commission met today, Saturday, 25th March, 2023 and deliberated on a wide range of issues including the issuance of Certificates of Return to those elected during the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections conducted by the Commission on 18th March 2023.
“By the provisions of Section 72(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, the Commission is mandated to issue a certificate of return within 14 days to every candidate who has been returned elected under the law.
“Pursuant to the above provision, the Commission has fixed Wednesday 29th, Thursday 30th and Friday 31st March, 2023 for the issuance of certificates of return to Governors and Deputy Governors-elect as well as State Assembly members-elect. The presentation will take place in INEC offices in each State of the Federation.
“Specific dates for the issuance of the certificates shall be communicated to those elected by the Resident Electoral Commissioners and Administrative Secretaries of the various states,” he said.
Group cautions Tallen
Meanwhile, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Concerned Citizens for Peace & Development (CCPD), Sunday, warned against throwing Adamawa state into crisis.
At the end of the governorship contest, INEC declared the exercise inconclusive on account of margin in votes scored by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, and that of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed also known as Binani.
Fintiri had polled 421,524 votes while Binani, who is the lawmaker in the National Assembly representing Adamawa Central, got 390, 275 votes.
The development has consistently generated mixed reactions from stakeholders within and outside the state.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on the controversial poll, CCPD National Coordinator Comrade Dominic Ogakwu urged caution in order not to throw the state into chaos.
The text of the speech was titled “Inconclusive” Governorship Election In Adamawa State. Binani: How The Inordinate Desire And Power Of A Woman Beckons Crisis In Adamawa.”
The group, particularly, asked the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen, and her co-travellers staging protests, to desist from meddling in Adamawa state politics and not plunge the state into unnecessary crisis.
“One of the annoying part of her game is the fact that Pauline Kedem Tallen, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, who ought to be neutral and play the role of a mother to everyone, but has failed woefully.
“Further, why Binani’s penchant desperation to be the next Governor of Adamawa state? Why changing the facts and figures? Why the noise and the feminine support by women outside Adamawa state? What is the interest of women like Paulen Tallen, who can’t boast of any electoral value in her home state of Plateau.
“Are tenets of democracy no longer sacrosanct that a winner should emerge through the popular majority? We in Adamawa cannot allow someone from Plateau State to come and ruin our beautiful state,” the group added.
According to the group, “The 2023 governorship election of Adamawa state has become a world centre of attraction. It is now a debacle of power tussle between the incumbent Governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and Senator Aishatu Ahmed Dahiru (Binani), Senator Representing Adamawa Central, whose gross desire is to become the next governor of the state.”
While querying INEC’s decision to declare the election inconclusive, the group said: “Declaring an inconclusive election after announcing results from 21 local government areas by the INEC Returning Officer, Professor Mohammed Mele, is not tenable.
“…there was no reason to declare the elections inconclusive when the result properly indicated that Governor Fintiri scored 421,524 votes, Senator Binnani 390,274 votes in the 21 local governments of Adamawa state. What is the likelihood that all the 37, 000 collected PVCs will vote and all for Binani?”
Speaking further the coordinator noted: “What we are saying here today is that only fairness and justice will save Adamawa state from the claws of crisis.
“… INEC must demonstrate that it is independent and above board by explaining how the units for the rerun increased from 69 to 77 polling units as widely spared (sic) on social media. Any action not in tandem with the Electoral Act and its guidelines will not be permitted by the good people of Adamawa.”
APC insists on victory in Kebbi
In a related development, the APC governorship campaign organization in Kebbi state, has called for the removal of the collation officer for the state, Professor Yusuf Saidu over alleged bias during the last Governorship and House of Assembly Elections.
Chairman publicity committee of the campaign team, Alhajl Kabiru Sani Giant, made the allegations Sunday in an interview with journalists in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital.
He said his removal would bring some level of sanity during the rerun elections, saying his party was not comfortable with the retuning officer.
He said the APC governorship candidate, Dr. Nasir Idris, won the election and ought to have been declared rather than declaring the exercise inconclusive,
“I urge that INEC’s Returning Officer, Professor Yusuf Sa’idu who on Monday declared the results to be inconclusive due to what he said was cancellation of polling unit results in 20 of the state’s 21 local governments, to be changed for the next rerun elections,” he said.
Giant, who is also National Coordinator Tinubu/Shettima ST7 2023, said the results showed the party’s candidate polled 388,258 votes while his closest rival, Major General Aminu Bande [retd] of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polled 342,980 votes.
“There is no need to declare the election inconclusive. Our candidate won fair and square. He is leading with 45,278 votes. In some states, candidates were declared winners when the margin was a fraction of that. There is no need for a supplementary election.” The APC chieftain said,
“INEC cancelled election results in some polling units because of overvoting and violence. Remember, the PDP candidate’s wife heads a department in INEC. It was also PDP that triggered violence in some of the polling units because they know they are our strongholds” he added.
He said “despite all the PDP machinations, we are still very comfortably ahead. Even if it holds supplementary elections, we are confident of increasing our margin of victory because all the areas where the polls were cancelled are our strongholds.
“I urge INEC to immediately declare our candidate as the winner of the election so that the people of Kebbi State, like those of most other states, will have peace of mind and go about their normal lives,” he said.
The APC also called for the probe of the PDP candidate’s wife for certain roles she allegedly played during the exercise.
They called for the investigation of “Prof Yusuf Saidu who is a close friend to the House of Representatives candidate, Prof Sabi Danladi Mahuta, who lost the election to the APC candidate under Fakai, Danko Wasagu, Zuru and Sakaba Federal Constituency.”
Similarly, the party called on INEC to probe the alleged use of fake election materials by the PDP.
Giant thanked the security agencies, journalists and INEC for the peaceful and successful conduct of the election in the state.
APC, PDP bicker in Delta
And in Delta state, the APC has condemned the PDP for accusing INEC of frustrating procedure for Certified True Copy (CTC) issuance.
Delta state Commissioner for Information and spokesman of the PDP presidential campaign council, Charles Aniagwu, had raised the alarm that INEC issued stringent guidelines to state Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on the issuance of CTCs of electoral documents for litigation by parties and candidates.
According to Aniagwu, the national leadership of INEC was specifically directing its RECs to compare the result in form EC8A with what is recorded on the IReV portal before issuing CTCs, which he contended, would circumvent the wheel of justice.
Reacting to PDP’s alarm, the APC said the ruling party in Delta state was planning to cover up its tracks after rigging the governorship poll.
Deputy Director Media and Publicity of Delta APC campaign organisation, Dr. Timi Tonye, in a statement Sunday, said the demand by Aniagwu and the PDP that RECs should issue CTCs without reference to the portal was outrageous and against the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act.
“Mr. Aniagwu is demanding from INEC, a blatant breach of the provisions of the Electoral Law which spells out clearly the process of collating and announcing the results of the governorship election.
“It is most ridiculous for anyone to request INEC not to implement the Electoral Law and INEC’s own rules in regard to issuing of the Certified True Copies of results of the governorship election in Delta State.
“It is even more absurd to impugn ‘circumvention of justice’ in the statement the PDP issued when in truth they are the people that are attempting to pervert justice by their now notorious BVAS by-pass in the just concluded elections.
“The impudence and mendacity of that demand is offensive and deeply insulting to the sensibilities of the Delta State electorates who have been cheated out of the true results of the election they keenly participated in.
“The PDP, their sympathizers and co-travelers are aware of the egregious falsifications of the results of the Delta State governorship election and the utter falsehood in the announced results, wants the bogus and falsified results published by the collation officers in the state’s INEC office to stand and not controverted by the correct counts of accreditations recorded by IReV.
“The Delta State PDP does not want the upload of results from across the state into the national database BVAS to be used to verify the results published by the Delta State collation officers. This is the reason PDP wants the Certified True Copy of the election result issued in Asaba.
“The fear of verification of the announced results has petrified the PDP. The sheer volume of the diabolism, rigging and other actions to steal an election PDP clearly lost must be resisted by every patriotic citizen of Delta State.
“As we proceed to seek justice in the matter of the 2023 governorship election, we ask the citizens of the state to be vigilant, steadfast and rally around the APC to safeguard democracy in Delta State and the integrity of the 2023 governorship election. We are determined to return the stolen mandate to the true winner of the 2023 governorship election,” the statement said.
Group on Tinubu inauguration
Amidst the controversies, the Tinubu/Southwest Media Veterans Support Group has tasked Nigerians, especially the Yorubas, to resist any provocation towards truncating Nigeria democracy.
The group gave the task in a statement Sunday by its spokesperson, Femi Odere, while reacting to a viral video clip of comments by Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the Chairman, Council of Elders of Ohaneze Ndigbo.
According to the group, there is the need for the Yorubas to resist the planned provocation considering the fact that the overarching game plan of those behind the plans “is to create a crisis atmosphere so that our democracy can be truncated.
Tinubu/Southwest Media Veterans Support Group said, “but we wager that what happened at the Soludo event was another one of those predetermined, calculated attempts to draw the ire of the Yoruba people in order to create an unstable sociopolitical atmosphere in the polity to achieve their pathological fixation for an Interim government, adding, ” we’re too discerning to fall for that bait.
“Our attention has been drawn to the comments made by Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the Chairman, Council of Elders of Ohaneze Ndigbo in a video clip that has gone viral. Chief Iwuanyanwu made these comments on Saturday, March 25th at a ceremony in Anambra State where he was a special guest of Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s one-year commemoration in office”, it said.
The group added: “We urge our people to resist any attempt to be provoked because their overarching game plan is to create a crisis atmosphere so that our democracy can be truncated.
“Let us continue to take the insults and abuses from the likes of Chief Iwuanyanwu while Asiwaju Tinubu and his team concentrate on an inauguration that will usher in a new dawn of unprecedented accomplishments across the country as he did in Lagos.”
“We should therefore brace ourselves for more of these vituperations as the inauguration of President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu draws closer,” the group further said.