In a decisive ruling on Saturday, the Adamawa State Governorship Election Tribunal confirmed the re-election of Umaru Fintiri as the Governor of the state following the contentious March 2023 governorship election.
The three-member panel, led by Justice Theodora Uloho, dismissed the claims of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Aisha ‘Binani’ Dahiru, citing a lack of merit in her demands.
The Tribunal’s judgment affirmed that Fintiri had met all the necessary requirements of electoral law to be re-elected, while the petitioners failed to substantiate their case.
The 2023 Adamawa governorship election had extended into a supplementary poll, marked by controversial moments.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ultimately declared the incumbent, Fintiri, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the winner.
At the conclusion of the drama-filled exercise in April, Fintiri secured 430,861 votes, defeating Binani, who received 398,738 votes.
Binani and other contestants turned to the Tribunal in an attempt to challenge Fintiri’s victory, but on Saturday, the court upheld the incumbent governor’s second term win.
Earlier in the electoral process, the then Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Adamawa State, Hudu Yunusa-Ari, had stirred controversy by prematurely announcing ‘Binani’ as the winner during the supplementary election on April 15, 2023, while the collation of results was ongoing.
INEC subsequently nullified Yunusa-Ari’s decision, suspended him, and initiated a full investigation into the electoral commissioner’s actions, as ordered by then-President Muhammadu Buhari.
Following the investigation, INEC reaffirmed Fintiri as the authentic winner of the tumultuous poll and handed Yunusa-Ari over to the police for prosecution.
Binani had implored the Tribunal to uphold the result announced by Yunusa-Ari, declaring her as the winner due to her majority votes or to cancel the election and call for a fresh poll.
However, the Tribunal’s ruling underscored that Fintiri had met all the legal requirements to be re-elected, and the petitioners failed to provide convincing evidence to the contrary.
The Tribunal emphasized that the declaration made by Yunusa-Ari was without legal authority and thus null and void.
Following the Tribunal’s decision, jubilant PDP supporters gathered at the Tribunal premises, singing solidarity songs and celebrating the victory.
Speaking to the media after the ruling, Governor Fintiri expressed his appreciation for the judiciary and characterized the judgment as a triumph for democracy and the people of Adamawa State.
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