The suspended Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hudu-Yunusa Ari, and other suspects have been arrested and are now in police custody and are currently being interrogated at the Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, over alleged impropriety during the April 15 supplementary governorship poll in the state.
The development was confirmed on Tuesday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi.
Yunusa-Ari had stirred controversy after declaring the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Aisha Dahiru, popularly known as Binani, as the winner of the Adamawa State governorship election, when collation of results was yet to be completed.
This was followed by an announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission proclaiming Yunusa- Ari’s declaration as null and void, while he was summoned to its headquarters in Abuja, but failed to honour the summon.
The electoral umpire further wrote to the NPF asking it to investigate, and if found culpable, prosecute Yunusa-Ari over alleged electoral infractions.
Following the receipt of the letter the IG subsequently asked an investigative team to work in collaboration with INEC on the matter, as the electoral umpire revealed that it didn’t know the whereabouts of the suspended Adamawa REC.
On April 20, President Muhammadu Buhari approved Yunusa-Ari’s suspension pending the conclusion of an investigation by the police.
Confirming the arrest of Yunusa-Ari and other suspects on Tuesday, Adejobi said, “The Nigeria Police Force hereby confirms the arrest of Barrister Hudu Yunusa-Ari, the Adamawa State REC, who was alleged to have announced the candidate of the All Progressives Congress winner of the gubernatorial elections during the recently concluded supplementary elections following calls for his arrest and investigation by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the basis of alleged impropriety in the course of supplementary gubernatorial polls in the State.
“Barrister Yunusa-Ari, who was arrested by the Police Election Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Team in Abuja on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, is currently in police custody and is being grilled to ascertain the motives and motivations behind his alleged improper actions during the supplementary elections in Adamawa State.
“In addition, other officials and individuals culpable in the saga are being interrogated by the team.
“The Inspector-General of Police has given clear assurance that every individual involved/indicted in the matter will be apprehended and investigated in line with the provisions of the law for possible prosecution. The IG has assured of the commitment of the Force to ensure that justice is served in this case and that all guilty parties are brought to justice.”
Meanwhile, Ari has said he never regretted announcing Aisha Binani Dahiru of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the 2023 governorship election in the state.
Speaking in an interview with BBC Hausa on Tuesday, Ari maintained that he acted in accordance with relevant laws in declaring the APC candidate as the governor-elect of the state before the declaration was overturned by the national headquarters of the electoral body in Abuja.
The embattled REC sparked controversy after he announced Binani as the winner of the supplementary election in Adamawa State on April 15, 2023 while collation of results was still ongoing.
INEC nullified Ari’s declaration and suspended him, while President Buhari ordered full investigation of the REC and the security officers that were around him when he made the declaration.
The electoral body subsequently concluded the election and announced the incumbent governor, Ahmadu Fintiri of the People’s Democratic Party, as the authentic winner of the drama-filled poll.
Security agencies had also been ordered to arrest and prosecute the embattled REC whose whereabouts had been unknown since the controversy started over two weeks ago.
“I never demanded any gratification from either Binani or Fintiri. None of the duo sent anything to me; if they have done so by now they will be demanding their monies back,” Ari said, speaking from hiding with BBC Hausa.
Asked why he announced Binani as “winner” in the first instance, the embattled REC said, “Votes polled by candidates were disclosed, I don’t have the papers with me here but both in the main and supplementary elections, Binani scored 428, 173 while Fintiri got 422, 303 votes.
“I have no regrets at all as I acted under the law; it is the law that warranted what I did and it shall absolve me.
“I will surely turn myself in to the police. Before, there was no summon from the police but now there is one. I will soon come out from hiding.”