A joint panel comprising officers of the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services, and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission has invited the suspended Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Hudu Yunusa-Ari, over his conduct in the April 15 supplementary elections in the state.
The investigation panel set up by the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has asked Yunusa-Ari to show up at the Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, Abuja.
The panel is headed by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police and Head of Interpol, Nigeria, Garba Umar, who was appointed as the Head of the election planning, monitoring and evaluation team, in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.
The spokesperson for the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Funmi Eguaoje, confirmed the development on Monday.
The FCID PRO said the matter is under the jurisdiction of the investigation panel, and not solely a police matter.
Eguaoje said, “The suspended Adamawa REC has been invited by a joint panel comprising the police, DSS, and INEC officials. The committee was set up to investigate the matter, and the chairman of the committee is AIG Garba. But it is not solely a police matter, the case is under the joint panel’s jurisdiction.
“The REC was invited by the joint committee, not the police. And I can’t confirm whether or not he has honoured the invite. I only know that he has been invited by the panel.”
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 the collation of results was yet to be completed.
This was followed by an announcement by INEC, proclaiming his declaration as null and void.
Yunusa-Ari was summoned by INEC to its headquarters in Abuja but failed to honour the summons.
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 Inspector General of Police subsequently ordered an investigative team to work in collaboration with INEC on the matter while the electoral umpire revealed that it was not aware of the whereabouts of Yunusa-Ari.
Also, on April 20, President Muhammadu Buhari approved Yunusa-Ari’s suspension pending the conclusion of an investigation by the police.
However, in a dramatic move, Yunusa-Ari said last week that he declared the candidate of the APC winner of the governorship election in the State to save the democratic process.
Ari said he acted in accordance with the powers conferred on him by the Electoral Act as the Chief Collation Officer in Adamawa State.
This was contained in a four-page letter he wrote to the Inspector General of Police from his hiding.
The embattled REC accused the two National Commissioners deployed to the State to supervise the April 15 supplementary election of collecting bribe from Governor Ahmadu Fintiri to declare him winner of the governorship election in Adamawa State.
In the letter, which was hand-dated April 20, the embattled REC also accused the two National Commissioners of usurping his responsibility as Resident Electoral Commissioner.
He denied any wrongdoing in declaring the candidate of the APC, Aishatu Dahiru (Binani) winner of the governorship election saying he acted within the responsibility vested on him by the Electoral Act as the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state.
He said that as the Chief Collation Officer in the State, he observed that results uploaded on the IREV portal were not signed by him and therefore null and void.
The letter titled: “Report of the conduct of supplementary elections held on the 15th April, 2023 in Adamawa state”, a copy of which was obtained by The Nation was stamped received in the IGP office on the same day.
Although the letter, which was copied to the INEC Chairman, Director General, DSS and the National Security Advisor, was addressed to the Inspector General of Police, the content is suggestive of the fact that it may have been meant for the Commission.
The letter was the first communication of the suspended REC since he declared Binani winner of the election.
INEC had said that it was not aware of the whereabouts of the Hudu Yunusa-Ari as he did not respond to summon to come to Abuja to explain his actions and did not return any of the calls placed to him.