Tinubu: Police Must Investigate Adamawa Guber Rerun Given Attendant Controversy
President-elect Bola Tinubu, yesterday, called on the police authorities to fully investigate what transpired during the supplementary governorship election in Adamawa State because of the controversy associated with the exercise.
Tinubu, in a statement he personally signed, also congratulated the governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri, and the Kebbi State governor-elect, Nasiru Idris, as well as senators-elect, House of Representatives members-elect, and state Houses of Assembly members-elect. He commended the “largely peaceful atmosphere” that encompassed the last round of elections held on April 15.
But Fintiri, who spoke yesterday at the Governor’s Lodge, Abuja, blamed what he described as the Abuja system, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and corrupt security officials for masterminding the drama that played out during the supplementary election.
He, however, singled out the military for praise, saying they saved democracy and allowed the will of the people to triumph.
Fintiri spoke after receiving his Certificate of Return.
The governor said he had resolved to prosecute and jail the Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Hudu Yunusa Ari, following his sordid role in the rerun poll.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said President Muhammadu Buhari did not intervene in the Adamawa State gubernatorial election crisis because it was not in his character to micromanage any institution of government. He said the president believed that the task of dealing with the infraction committed by the suspended REC rested with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
At the same time, the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives, led by Ndudi Elumelu, congratulated Fintiri on his re-election, saying it is victory for democracy.
As repercussions continued to unfolded following the controversies that attended the Adamawa State supplementary governorship poll, Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ahmed Abubakar Audi, summoned the state Commandant of the corps, Muhammad Bello, to the national headquarters of the organisation to explain his role in the election.
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Tuesday, led a special prayer session for the incoming administration of Tinubu. Sanwo-Olu prayed for a peaceful transfer of power and progress in the country.
Tinubu, in the statement, said the victorious men and women from the last elections had earned the trust of their people. He called on them to rededicate themselves to the service of their respective constituencies.
According to president-elect, “The supplementary polls have now brought the 2023 elections to a final, fitting conclusion. I observed, with satisfaction, the largely peaceful atmosphere that pervaded the supplementary election on Saturday. It was further testimony that our citizens have accepted democratic norms and have unalloyed faith in the electoral process.
“However, I note the matter of Adamawa supplementary governorship election and I urge police authorities to fully investigate all that transpired in the election given the attendant controversy. In every democratic contest, there has to be one winner. I call on those aggrieved to pursue legitimate means of addressing their grievances.”
Tinubu said with the conclusion of the 2023 elections, those elected should prepare to serve the people with diligence and dedication. He implored the elected officials to join hands with him in the pursuit of a better, stronger, more secure, economically vibrant, and prosperous Nigeria.
Fintiri: Military Saved Democracy, Blames Abuja, APC
Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, yesterday, blamed the Abuja system, APC, and corrupt security officials for the drama that played out during the April 15 supplementary governorship election in the state. Fintiri said it was the military that saved democracy by allowing the will of the people to prevail.
The governor made the assertions while addressing newsmen shortly after he was issued his certificate of return by INEC. He commended some INEC officials for their uprightness and transparent conduct.
Fintiri attributed the controversial events that played out during the elections to desperation, saying, “I give God Almighty (glory) for today. Democracy has won at the end of the day, the will of the people of Adamawa State prevailed.”
He, however, vowed to prosecute Ari, saying, “I will direct the state attorney to file charges against him, prosecute him and make sure he is jailed.”
The governor said the state government would have preferred to have Ari prosecuted in the state, and not Abuja, since the offence was committed in Adamawa State. He said he was confident that despite the initial delays, he would have won the election at the first ballot on March 18, but for Ari, who stoked crisis and, allegedly, got most of his votes pushed to the APC governorship candidate.
Fintiri apologised to the INEC national commissioners who were injured in the fracas that took place on Sunday, April 16. He said despite the injustice meted out to him, he pledged to be fair to all residents of the state.
Alleging that there was external manipulation from Abuja, the governor admitted that the external influence made the election the toughest in his political career
He stated, “It is unfortunate that we have to go through all these to arrive at this moment today. This should have been finished and done since on the 18th of March. But, unfortunately, because of the attitude of some individuals among us, and indiscretions of some politicians, it had to drag this long for us to be here.
“But thank God, INEC, with very wonderful and excellent personnel, has redeemed the whole process. They redeemed the image battered by so-called REC and today, Nigerians have cause to celebrate democracy.
“Going forward, we should learn from the lessons that we went through in the last one week so that we can continue to build on the process and on our democracy as stakeholders.”
The governor thanked Nigerians and the international community for standing for democracy during the whole saga. He alleged that external forces from Abuja wanted to strangulate democracy in the state.
Fintiri explained, “Yes it was my toughest election because of the external manipulation that was coming from Abuja. They were interested in seeing that they strangle democracy. And you can see to your dismay that even the security agencies that are supposed to protect our democracy were involved in strangling the democracy in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the military had to get involved to save the democracy in Adamawa. It is quite unfortunate.”
The governor said he had become a veteran of inconclusive elections, and had learnt a lot.
“I know that I won the election on 18 March, 2023 squarely from the beginning,” he stated.
Fintiri added, “The REC, from the beginning, has been manipulating the election to give it to the APC. Unfortunately, because of the quantum of voting, he became confused and had to declare the election inconclusive, believing that if he is given the second opportunity, he will be able to manipulate. But God did not allow him.
“We won the inconclusive election again squarely and he had to do what he did disgracefully. I think INEC has taken steps and they are going to prosecute him, but I think the right place to prosecute him is in Adamawa, because he committed the offence in my land and I am going to instruct the Ministry of Justice to ensure that he is prosecuted and taken to jail.”
Meanwhile, INEC’s National Commissioner, Dr. Baba Billa, presented the Certificate of Return to Fintiri and his deputy, Professor Kaletapwa Farauta, in Abuja.
Billa, who represented INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, also presented Certificates of Return to National Assembly members at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, while members of the state Houses of Assembly-elect were directed to contact the state offices of INEC for their certificates.
Lai Mohammed: Why Buhari Didn’t Interfere in Adamawa Poll Crisis
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said President Muhammadu Buhari refused to intervene in the Adamawa State gubernatorial election crisis because it was not his style to micromanage any institution of government.
The minister said Buhari believed it was INEC’s duty to deal with the situation.
Answering questions from newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided by the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, at the State House, Abuja, Mohammed claimed ignorance of any petition written to Buhari on the need to take action against Ari, whom he said was an employee of INEC.
Asked to give the reaction of the federal government to the matter, the minister said, “I don’t think that this government has ever intervened in the way the Independent National Electoral Commission conducts its elections. So, there’s no need for us to intervene. It was entirely an INEC matter and INEC handled it.
“The chairman of INEC is in charge of all employees at INEC and he’s handling it. So, what do you want the government to do?”
On whether the president was disappointed by the attitude of the REC, Mohammed said, “The president does not micromanage any institution.”
On INEC’s alleged report to the appointing authority, the minister responded, “I think you go ask INEC. INEC handles all these businesses. Honestly, if I were you, I will ask INEC that question. You said INEC took certain steps, right; it’s in the context of INEC to so do.
“I’m not aware that there’s a petition. It was not addressed to me. That’s why I said your best bet is probably to ask INEC. You see, the president does not micromanage every institution. I think I’m the wrong person you are asking this question.”
Mohammed also explained why he accused the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, of committing treason, saying if his running mate had called for insurrection and he did not react, he was guilty as charged.
Explaining the accusation, which he made during a recent trip to the United States, Mohammed said, “What I said about Mr Peter Obi is very clear. I said Mr Peter Obi has every right to seek redress in court, like Labour Party. But nobody has the right to call for insurrection or to threaten to say that if the president-elect is sworn in, that will be the end of democracy.
“That was precisely what the running mate of Mr Peter Obi said on live television. And I have not heard Peter Obi rein him in or correct him. So, if your running mate said something, of course, he is saying it on behalf of the party and that of the candidate.
“That’s why it’s an act of treason for anybody to say if a duly elected president in Nigeria is sworn in, that will be the end of democracy. It’s treason for anybody to say if you swear in a duly elected president, you’re swearing-in the military. It is crazy. So, I don’t see anything controversial in that.”
Commenting on his recent media tour of the United States and United Kingdom, Mohammad said, “I went to the US to balance the skewed report about the just concluded elections and everywhere I went, I said unequivocally that the last general election in Nigeria has been most transparent and that despite the efforts of the opposition to de-legitmise or soil the elections.
“I stated there that two reasons why these elections were key were, one, that the use of technology, BVAS, made it difficult for anybody to do the usual thing before by over-voting, stuffing ballots and the rest because once it takes your biometrics, you can’t vote twice. Secondly, the president, before the elections, promised that he would provide a level playing ground and he did.
“In the first instance, he did not confer any advantage on the ruling party and that is why, as far as we are concerned, we would rather lose the election than win at all costs. And the results showed it. The president lost the presidential election in his own state, Katsina.
“It has never happened before for the sitting president to lose in his own state. I went further to say that the president prevented anybody from using the security to rig elections. Of course, the last election was the least violent in the history of Nigeria.”