Adamawa Guber: Why REC Yunusa Ari Should be Prosecuted’ -Forum of Accredited Observers

the election was free, fair and transparent in the entire polling units we visited. At the end of voting, results were collated at the various local government collation centres peacefully, signed by all the party agents


We are accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to observe the 2023 general election, participated actively during the just concluded supplementary governorship election in Adamawa state held on the 15th April, 2023 in 20 out of 21 local government areas of the state. The major reason for the supplementary election was mainly overvoting in the affected polling units, except in Bolki ward of Numan local government where election did not hold on the 18th march, 2023 due to insecurity, which prevented the deployment of election materials. We wish to use this medium to commend the good people of Adamawa state who thronged their polling units on Saturday 18th March and 15th April 2023 to exercise their civic duties. Apparently, the 18th march gubernatorial election came with its challenges, the just concluded supplementary election was able to address the major issues that plagued the 18th March gubernatorial election due to the cooperation of the electorates.


In most of the polling units observed by our field agents, election materials were deployed on time with exception of polling unit 03, Kofar Wakili Musa in Girei ward

1 of Girei local government and the entire 13 polling units in Bolki ward of Numan local government area where the poll commenced between 02:22pm and 03:15pm respectively.


The voting atmosphere in the various polling units we visited was peaceful and had large turnout. The electorate conducted themselves in a matured and responsible manner, although some little skirmishes occurred in polling unit 04, Sangere Bode primary school, Namtari ward, polling unit 06, Lamido Mustapha Clinic II, Makama “A” in Yola South local government as well as polling unit 10, Ungwan Ali/Audu Maikarfe, Sabon Pegi ward of Numan local government, but was nipped in the bud by the security personnel posted to the area.


The deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was effectively carried out. No report of faulty BVAS was recorded in all the areas where we covered. At the end of the exercise most of the results were uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal real-time.

Generally, the election was free, fair and transparent in the entire polling units we visited. At the end of voting, results were collated at the various local government collation centres peacefully, signed by all the party agents present.


The state collation of result commenced at 10pm on the 15th of April, 2023 at the INEC state collation centre in Yola presided by the state returning officer, Prof Mohammed Mele. The process was peaceful devoid of any rancor. As expected local government returning officers in company of their respective electoral officers presented the results of the elections in their local governments publicly. That evening the results from 10 local governments namely Demsa, Yola South, Yola North, Lamurde, Jada, Ganye, Song, Shelleng, Maiha as well as Hong were announced by their various returning officers. At 12:45am Barr. Hudu Yunusa Ari the state resident electoral commissioner [REC] abruptly suspended the collation exercise until 11am on Sunday the 16th of April, 2023 to the surprise of many present, with 10 local government pending. We all departed in a peaceful manner with the hope of converging for the continuation of the process as promised by the REC. However, to our greatest surprise the REC in company of some senior security officials sneaked into the collation centre, usurped the function of the state returning officer and illegally declare a winner, when the process was not concluded. Obviously, the action of the REC contravenes the provision of section 25(2) which states that: “The returning officer shall announce the result and declare the winner of the electiona at the state collation centre in the case of election
of a governor of a state”. Therefore, the declaration was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void. The normal procedure according to the electoral laws, regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections is that declaration of local government election result is made in public at state collation centre by the local government returning officer in company of the local government electoral officer. But, what was done by Barr. Ari is a verbal declaration of winner, without even announcing the result of the 10 pending local governments and no final votes scored by the various political parties. This is abnormal and violates the provisions of the electoral laws, regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The conduct of the Barr. Ari is a great embarrassment to INEC as an institution and big dent to the image of Federal Republic of Nigeria in the comity of Nations. In all this, we were strongly taken aback by the conduct of the senior security officials who provided security protection to the REC to perpetrate the dastardly act, when they know his conduct was unconstitutional, against the law and of no effect.. OUR POSITION i} Generally, the election conducted at the affected polling units were peaceful and complied with the provision of the electoral laws, regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections. ii} The turnout of voters across the affected polling units was impressive and the conduct of the electorate was commendable unlike the election of the 18th of march.

iii) We strongly condemn the conduct of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barr Mohammed Yunusa Ari and call for his immediate arrest and prosecution in line with section 26(1)(2) of the electoral act to serve as deterrent to those who wish to violate the laws in future. iv) We call on the Prsident of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to as a matter of urgency investigate the senior security officials who aided and abetted the REC in perpetrating the illegality. v) We call on the INEC to thoroughly investigate what happened during the collation as well as the conduct of Barr. Ari with a view to taking a decisive action that will restore the confident of the people on the commission with regards to the Adamawa state governorship election. vi) After conclusion of its investigation, we call on INEC to deploy the state Returning Officer, Prof. Mohammed Mele to Adamawa state to resume the collation of the result and declare the rightful winner in line with the provisions of the law. vii) We call on INEC not to allow the enemies of our democracy to subvert the will of the Adamawa state electorates, but ensure the mandate of the people as expressed through the ballot box is upheld. CONCLUSION It is imperative that INEC fundamentally reform its system, restructure the organization and purge itself of toxic elements within its fold. Okafor Augustine Hillary Comrade Amarachi Confidence Iwuchukwu

MEMBERS OF THE FORUM 1. International Standard Centre

2. Centre for Strategy, Ethics and Value

3. Grassroot Development Centre for Peace and Justice

4. Initiative for the Promotion of Civic Obligation and Sustainable Peace (INPROCOSUP) 5. Centre for Social Value and Early Childhood Development

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