The governorship poll in Adamawa State ended up an unsuccessful prowl, going by some rancid arguments. In unembellished terms, some keen observers of the entire Adamawa election drama say it was an unsuccessful coup by some powerful people in Nigeria. The real issues are not on the front burner. Only a few people know exactly what happened in Adamawa. All others, including this writer are also just – again that word – prowling for information. “The atomic bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.” This submission by Eric Arthur Blair, better known as George Orwell, is a potpourri just like the book, “Some Thoughts on the Common Toad” the medium through which he said it. So, somehow, we are all prowling for exactly what happened in Adamawa.
At the end of that governorship election, Adamawa suddenly sprang to the forefront to assume the role of the flagship of the things that went wrong with the last electoral process in Nigeria. For those who contend that Adamawa was a coup, they are of the belief that the actors must have prowled INEC night and day in search of accomplices and cohorts. This school of thought holds that the coup promoters must have worked really hard in their untimed prowling before they finally arrived at the choice of Hudu Yunusa Ari. A barrister-at-law, Hudu Yunusa Ari, was until recently the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Nigeria’s electoral umpire, INEC, in Adamawa State. He was among the last batch of RECs whose nominations were approved by the president and appointments confirmed by the National Assembly in July 2022.
Hudu Yunusa Ari is believed to be a pun on the chessboard of some powerful players. He could not have unilaterally gone before the whole world to announce a winner in an election in which the processes were far from concluded. The video from the announcement by the now suspended Adamawa REC showed that he had security chiefs by him. He also had those who were passionately trying to stop him and were pointing out to him that what he was doing was illegal and immoral. But he was adamant. The REC was obstinate and unfazed in his illegality. The police, the DSS and the NSCDC were fully represented in that drama.
However, this is not about the persona of Hudu Yunusa Ari, the actor. It is about his disdainful courage and arrogant obstinacy in acting his role in the Adamawa drama. It is about the character he represents in the whole drama. Could it be because he is a lawyer? What laws could he have relied on to do what he did? What laws other than the same ones available informed his action? He was denied by the INEC almost as soon as he was done making that announcement. Doesn’t that show that Hudu Yunusa Ari was working at cross purposes with the INEC he ordinarily should be representing?
The president has stepped into his matter and ratified his suspension. The president has also asked that the DSS, the Police and the NSCDC probe their very senior officials who took part in the shameful drama. We wait and hope this would be followed through because Lai Mohammed earlier threw back a call on the Federal Government by INEC on the matter to the body. Lai Mohammed didn’t consider the fact that the Federal Government is the appointing authority – as lawyers say – in making his submission.
Then, there is also the scene acted by Aishatu Dahiru Binani in the ugly drama. She remains a central character in it all, and this is regardless of all her frantic denials of allegations of bribery and her attempts to stand askance from Ari’s shenanigans. Aisha Binani, following the backlash of her announcement as the winner of the election, said: “I wish to reiterate that I am a democrat I have always been a committed democrat and will never do anything to subvert democratic process. I am not a do-or-die politician.” Ma’am, what you did after the illegal announcement of yourself as the winner of that election shows that all you did is not consistent with your words.
Mummy Aisha Binani, you gave an acceptance speech after you were said to be the winner of the election in a bizarre manner. You didn’t stop there ma’am. You also went to court for an ‘interpretation’ of that declaration by Hudu Yunusa Ari. On the N2 billion bribery allegation, I already vehemently defended you that it’s possible you might not be the one to put N2 billion on the table for the deal. You might also not be able to put that much down in one fell swoop. That is a humongous amount of money to bribe people just to play ball. And your denial of that is very welcome. However, what if your admirers and supporters and sponsors did that? Many people believe that those they said were prowling around for accomplices might have done that. These are pointers to the possibility that you might not be unaware of the plot and sundry issues in the whole Adamawa debacle.
Thirdly, ma’am, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) broadcasted live that acceptance speech of yours. It takes some preparations to get the requisite equipment ready for live outside broadcast. Let’s concede that NTA had equipment ready at relevant places for the broadcast of the speech of whoever won. Is NTA not aware that INEC was yet to formally conclude the collation of the supplementary election results? NTA is way bigger and better than such shallow considerations. But this…? Indeed, this points to complicity on the part of Madam Aisha. It is difficult to believe that Madam Aisha Dahiru Binani didn’t know that collation of results was still ongoing at the time of her announcement as winner of the election, and the time of her preparation, reading and live broadcast of her acceptance speech.
These considerations are not supportive of the honesty Aisha Binani is professing in this matter. Indeed, they point at a messy coup. The dirty traces or prowling hyenas are all over the place. Aisha doesn’t appear clean in all of these. If she claims otherwise, her post-declaration actions gave her away. This is an ugly tar on the womenfolk, and it is sad to have come from the brush of one of them. Aisha Binani scored an own goal.
Let’s hope that she would go to court to challenge her eventual loss of the election. There, we might get to hear and, perhaps read some of the things that transpired during the ill-fated prowl. We might also learn about those who got their fingers burnt in it.
INEC has done well to dissociate itself from the Adamawa prowl but that is not enough. INEC has the opportunity to prove that it is not toying with the electoral laws. It has the powers to prosecute that ex-Adamawa REC. INEC has been to the appointing authority and back. It should now exercise its powers on its erring staff.
Who gave the order in the Adamawa poll prowl? When the coup failed, it became the case of O fusa okpogho n gwesa okpogho. O fusa nga I jee nga (If it requires money, we’ll provide money. If it requires going to jail, you will go to jail).
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