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.”
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who also addressed the reporters, said he was not aware that the Comptroller General of Immigration, Idaho Jere Idris, had been removed.
Some reports had it that Immigration boss had been asked to leave office following the expiration of his initial one year extended tenure.
But when asked to clarify the matter, Aregbesola said, “It is Greek to me.”
Fintiri’s Victory is Triumph for Democracy, Says Elumelu
Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives congratulated Governor Ahmadu Fintiri on his victory at the just concluded governorship election. Leader of the caucus, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, expressed delight over the outcome of the poll, in a statement.
Elumelu said Fintiri’s re-election marked the triumph of the will of the people of the state in the exercise of their democratic right to choose their preferred leader in an election.
Describing the victory as a triumph for democracy, he urged Fintiri to remain focused and continue in his excellent delivery of service.
Elumelu stated, “From the results of the main election and the supplementary poll, it was clear that Governor Fintiri remains the clear choice of the people. His ultimate victory further proves that no matter how much falsehood, tyranny and manipulations appear to thrive, the truth will always prevail at the end of the day.
“The Minority Caucus again congratulates Governor Fintiri and urges him to remain focused and continue in his excellent delivery of service, particularly, his massive legacy infrastructural development projects and empowerment of citizens for which the people of Adamawa State overwhelmingly re-elected him as Governor.”
NSCDC CG Summons Adamawa Commandant over Poll Debacle
Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ahmed Abubakar Audi, summoned the Adamawa State Commandant of the Corps, Muhammad Bello, to their national headquarters of the organisation in Abuja, to explain the role he played in the just concluded election in the state.
A statement by the corps spokesman, Commandant Olusola Odumosu, yesterday, said it was in connection with the controversy surrounding the just concluded Adamawa State governorship supplementary election, where the corps was accused of complicity along with other security agencies.
The corps’ helmsman directed the state commandant to immediately hand over affairs of the command to his immediate subordinate to allow him time to provide the management of the corps with an explanation of the role he played in the exercise.
Audi emphasised that NSCDC was a non-partisan and non-political organisation that would not tolerate the involvement of personnel or any of its formations in political controversies, as widely alleged.
The statement quoted the NSCDC helmsman as saying, “I have summoned the state commandant to national headquarters to face the management team and explain himself in clear terms. We are known for our integrity, neutrality and non-partisanship in election matters, that is why we will not take the case of Adamawa lightly.
“I have ordered him to hand over the command to his immediate deputy because his role in the rerun election is currently being investigated and if he is found culpable, then he will have himself to blame.”
Sanwo-Olu Prays for Guidance, Progress as Tinubu Takes over May 29
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Tuesday, led a special prayer session for the incoming administration of Bola Tinubu, supplicating for peaceful transfer of power and progress in the country.
Sanwo-Olu also committed his second term to God, seeking divine guidance in adequately addressing challenges confronting Lagos.
The prayer was held during the yearly Ramadan lecture organised by Lagos lesser Hajj pilgrims in Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the governor was represented by the deputy governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.
Dignitaries at the event held at Makarem Ajyad Hotels, included Chief Judge of Lagos, Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba; Commissioner for Home Affairs, Hon. Anofiu Elegushi; Special Adviser to the Governor on Islamic Affairs, Hon. Abdullahi Ahmad; Chairman of Governance Advisory Council (GAC), Prince Tajudeen Olusi; Prince Rabiu Oluwa; and Chairman of Lagos Muslim Pilgrim Board, Alhaji AbdulGafar Mofesaiye.
Hamzat said Makkah remained the rallying point for the Muslims, noting that Muslim pilgrims from Lagos used the occasion of the spiritual journey to offer prayers for the country, Lagos and their fellow countrymen.
He said, “We believe prayers have been helpful for us to achieve our objectives and sustain our unity. In Lagos, we usually commit everything we do to prayer and God-willing, things have been really promising for us.”
Hamzat described Tinubu’s victory in the last general election as an “answered prayer” for Nigerians, stressing that the former Lagos State governor has comprehensive plans towards improving the conditions of the citizens.
He urged Nigerians to be patient and give the incoming administration the necessary support to implement its programmes and satisfy the yearnings of the electorate.
Hamzat said, “We’re not saying all our problems will be solved in one day when Tinubu takes the mantle of leadership next month, but his plans will redefine governance and change the narrative of development of the country.
“We are here to pray for guidance, sustenance, wisdom and good health to enable him pilot the affairs of our country. As citizens, we must be patient to understand that governance is a process; we must give the government the leeway to articulate its priorities and satisfy the yearnings of the countrymen.
“Election is over but there is still a lot of pent-up anger largely driven by hatred. We must all calm our frayed nerves and embrace one another. We are all humans equal before God and the law. As a state, we have been projecting tolerance in Lagos and we will continue to do so. All Nigerians must see themselves as one, because without peace there can’t be progress.”