The Peoples Democratic Party alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission was compromised for it to declare the Adamawa State governorship election inconclusive, what are your thoughts on that?
I think INEC’s position was dependent on its rules and guidelines. This is not the first time such a decision was reached. In 2019, there was also a supplementary election…..CONTINUE READING
The PDP cannot be a player and a referee in the same game. INEC is like the referee in this case, so if you are a good player you should take the decision of the referee in good faith and if you are not comfortable with the referee’s decision, there are procedures for seeking redress.
We, the All Progressives Congress, are contesting some of the decisions taken by INEC, because our governorship candidate, Senator Aishatu Binani, has asked for review in some local government areas, which it ought to have looked into, going by the provision of the Electoral Act, but which it has failed to do. Since the PDP is saying Governor Ahmadu Fintiri should have been declared the winner, they should justify it. INEC made the right call and it gave reasons for its action.
Prior to the elections, there were certain audios linked to your candidate, where she allegedly vowed to win the election whatever it would take. Was that true?
We are in a generation where whatever claims need forensic analysis and I don’t think I will listen to any form of audio and align myself with it until there is forensic analysis.
In the video, someone said to be the Resident Electoral Commissioner was heard on a call asking one of the electoral officials in Fufore to assist the APC candidate and the REC didn’t deny the audio but said his statement was misinterpreted. How will you respond to that?
The REC, who could speak for himself, can either accept or deny the audio. But for us, audios have been flying around and anything could be manipulated. So, until forensic analysis proves beyond reasonable doubt that this is correct, we won’t accept it. It is for the REC to defend himself if those things attributed to him are correct or not.
The PDP also alleged that Binani tried to buy the outcome, what do you make of that?
These are mere propaganda, especially by the PDP that feared it would be voted out of office. The candidate of the PDP, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, had stated arrogantly several times that there was no opposition in the state, but APC and Senator Aishatu Binani have become his worst nightmare. They have pushed a lot of propaganda to smear the good image of the APC candidate and I think a lot of people are seeing it. We should be accusing the PDP of buying its way through because it’s the party in power, and we saw how state resources were used to intimidate opponents and garner votes for the PDP.
But the PDP denied that, saying it contested not just against Binani but INEC too?
What do you expect them to say? The PDP is saying that to get sympathy for getting close to losing an election.
Can you say the PDP is close to losing when it’s in the lead with over 31,000 votes?
If he (Fintiri) is leading, why the noise then? That margin the PDP is leading with is being contested, because Senator Binani has said let every certified true copy that emanated from the polling unit be compared with the uploaded results. We need to reconcile them. If that is done, we will know the truth and who the people voted for. We have seen a lot of doctored results, places where BVAS was bypassed and instances of over-voting. These are things we want to verify. Our candidate, Senator Binani, has said times without number that if that is done and she loses the election she would accept the result in good faith. However, with all the allegations of doctored results in different polling units, I don’t think it’s morally right for Governor Fintiri to raise his shoulders that he has over 31,000 votes.
Your response seems to suggest that your principal is rejecting the result, but how do you reconcile this with her earlier posture, when results were bandied around the social media, which presumed that she was leading?
Right from when the election was in progress, reports from polling units and local governments showed how the electoral guidelines were being bypassed. The evidence gathered during the process led to the outcry that things were not being done right and her call to INEC was to review the process to uncover these irregularities. There were instances where cancelled polling unit results were counted for the governor and House of Assembly results uploaded for him. Who would accept that? If INEC is saying Binani’s claims are not correct, it should verify and reveal its findings. She only wants the right thing to be done so the result can be acceptable to all.
In Fufore Local Government Area, Binani was accused of sending thugs who snatched the results sheets to inflate figures for her. What do you make of these?
This election is being determined by the people at the polling units, results are being collated at the ward and local government levels and then transferred to the state.
What about the controversy that her firm was awarded the contract for the printing of sensitive election materials, even though INEC said she wasn’t listed as a director?
She wasn’t given any contract by INEC. The misrepresentation here was when Binani Printing Press won a contract to print some election materials. INEC has clarified that the contract was not awarded to Binani but to Binani Press. Her name was not listed as a director. Binani Press has been undertaking and executing contracts in the country for a while, and if INEC by its procurement laws finds it fit to award the contract to the company because they found it competent and qualified, I don’t think there is any reason why anybody should cry out. We should rest this issue because INEC has clarified it.
Do you think your candidate will win the election after Saturday’s supplementary election, despite the PDP candidate leading with 31,249 votes?
When you have moving vehicles, there is an allowance for overtaking. We have seen that happen many times. Of course, there are 37,770 votes at stake, and everyone is going after those votes, nobody should conclude on the outcome, because making assumptions is tantamount to rigging. Who says Binani won’t garner all the 37,000 plus votes. She stands a very good chance.
How do you assess Binani’s chances in almost becoming the first female elected governor in the country, if she wins the election?
As it stands, Binani has done remarkably well not just in Adamawa State but in Nigeria, such that the international community has taken note of her strides in the political space as an Amazon. She has also been able to put forward a platform that will emancipate the girl child and empower the women folk. Her candidature has further shown that if you give the woman or the girl child a chance, they will do very well. Look at her impact in education, empowerment and skills development, health as well as her advocacy for women and youth, all of which were targeted at emancipating them from poverty. If she has made such a remarkable impact as a representative, I think she will be able to do much more with executive power. I celebrate her for letting the girl child know they can do it.
Your party member believes she unsettled the governor, do you feel so?
Of course, she did. Governor Fintiri, as we know, has not exhibited his usual braggadocio. He’s used to saying there is no opposition and there is no APC in Adamawa. Next time, every politician will look at the opponent within the political system with some respect and not underrate them…..CONTINUE READING