Binanin Vs Fintiri: Supreme Court reserves judgement in Adamawa Guber Tussle.

From Lateef Taiwo

The Supreme Court, on Monday, reserved its judgement on the fresh appeal brought before it by the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its candidate, Senator Aisha Dahiru Binani, to contest the declaration of Umar Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the Governor of Adamawa State.

After taking arguments from parties in the
appeal, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Inyang Okoro, adjourned the matter for judgement.

Binani’s legal team led by cheif Akin Olujinmi, SAN, and Fintiri’s legal team headed by Damian Dodo,SAN both adopted final briefs of argument on behalf of their clients.

Binani, in her appeal asked the apex court to unseat Fintiri as governor of Adamawa State.
The appellant urged the Supreme Court to set aside the concurrent verdicts of the Court of Appeal and the Adamawa State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which upheld Fintiri’s re-election.

Binani held that she won majority of valid votes cast during the March 18 Governorship election held in the state and was validly declared the winner by the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC.

Fintiri’s lawyer, however disagreed and urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal and uphold his election victory.

Recall that the appellate court had in a judgement it delivered on December 18, 2023, dismissed Senator Dahiru’s appeal, even as it awarded a cost of N1million against her.

While affirming the election of governor Fintiri’s election the appellate court held that Senator Dahiru’s appeal was vague.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had at the end of a supplementary election that held in Adamawa State, announced that Fintiri polled 430,861 votes to defeat Senator Dahiru of the APC who got a total of 398,788 votes.

Dissatisfied with the outcome of the poll, Binani approached the tribunal, alleging that the election was fraught with corrupt practices and manifest non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.

She urged the Justice Theodora Obi Uloho-led tribunal to declare that she was the valid winner of the governorship election, a prayer the panel refused and dismissed her petition.

While affirming the decision of the tribunal, the appellate court, in its lead verdict that was read by Justice Ebiowei Tobi, held that the 27 grounds of appeal the APC candidate brought before it, lacked competence.

It held that the Appellants failed to by way of credible evidence, substantiate the allegations they raised against the outcome of the election, stressing that their claim that electoral fraud took place in 14,104 polling units in the state, was not proved.

Also, the court noted that the record of proceedings transmitted from the tribunal, as well as the briefs of argument that were filed by the Appellants, were incomplete.
The appellate court further emphasised that only a Returning Officer at an election has the statutory power to declare results of the election.

Meanwhile, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had earlier granted INEC the permission to prosecute its suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Adamawa State, Hudu Yunusa-Ari.

Yunusa-Ari is facing a six-count charge over alleged unlawful role he played in the Adamawa State governorship election that held on March 18.

INEC had initially declared that the gubernatorial election was inconclusive and ordered a supplementary poll.

However, midway into the collation of results of the supplementary poll that held on April 15, the suspended Adamawa REC, Yunusa-Ari, sidelined protocols and announced the APC candidate, Binani, as the winner.

This led to INEC placing Yunusa-Ari on indefinite suspension and voiding his declaration.


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