Suspended Adamawa REC’s whereabouts unknown –INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it does not have an idea of the whereabouts of the suspended Resident Electoral Commission (REC) of Adamawa State, Barrister Hudu Ari, since his controversial action during the just concluded supplementary governorship election in the state.
This was made known by the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, while featuring as a guest on a Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily, on Friday, April 21, 2023.
Hudu Ari had caused a lot of uproars when he announced the supplementary governorship election results in Adamawa State on Sunday against the provisions of the electoral act and collation was not yet concluded.
Okoye said, “We don’t know where he is because, after this particular incident, the Commission wrote to him and also called him on the phone. He never returned any of the calls, he never answered any of the calls.
READ ALSO: INEC reacts to allegations of partisanship in Adamawa supplementary elections
“We asked him to report to the Commission on Sunday we didn’t see him, we asked him to report on Monday we didn’t see him. So up till this moment, he has not reported and we don’t know his whereabouts,”
On if he thinks Ari will be declared wanted for failing to report to the Commission or answer its calls, Okoye said that is the responsibility of the Nigerian Police.
He said, “Well, that is the responsibility of the Nigerian police. If they feel that his presence is absolutely needed during the investigation and he is nowhere to be found, it is their prerogative and discretion to declare him wanted.’’
After suspending the REC, INEC reported his case to President Muhammadu Muhammadu Buhari, who on Thursday approved Ari’s suspension, pending the completion of an investigation by the Inspector General of Police on the conduct/actions of the REC during the Supplementary election in Adamawa State.
The INEC National Commissioner said that the Commission had received a report from the Inspector General of Police and has commenced the process of prosecuting the controversial Adamawa REC.
He added, “We wrote to the Inspector General of Police and Secretary to the Government of the Federation. We have received a response from the Inspector General of Police and they have already commenced an investigation.
“My understanding is that the moment the Inspector General of Police concludes the investigation regarding the REC and every other individual who is involved and a prima facie case is established against the REC the file will be made available to the commission and the commission will begin prosecution of the REC.’’
INEC had on Sunday, April 16, 2023, INEC suspended collation for the Saturday supplementary governorship election in Adamawa after Ari announced Aisha ‘Binani’ Dahiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner over the incumbent, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
INEC had in a statement immediately said that the declaration by the Adamawa REC was null, void and of no effect and summoned Ari and other officials to Abuja. The commission said the declaration was a usurpation of the powers of the collation and returning officer.
The electoral umpire had in a letter on Monday asked Yunusa-Ari to stay away from its office in the state and directed the administrative secretary to take full charge of affairs in Adamawa with immediate effect.