Adamawa Guber: Fintiri, Binani Know Fate as Supreme Court Reserves Judgment

Adamawa Guber: Fintiri, Binani Know Fate as Supreme Court Reserves Judgment

Alex Enumah in Abuja

Within the next two weeks, the tussle for the governorship seat of Adamawa State would be finally laid to rest as the Supreme Court is set to rule between Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC’s) governorship candidate, Senator Aisha Dahiru Binani.

A five-member panel of the apex court, yesterday, announced that it would deliver its judgment in the appeal by Binani seeking to upturn the declaration of Fintiri as governor of Adamawa, on a date that would be communicated to parties in the appeal.

While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Fintiri winner of the March 18 governorship election and April 16 rerun, both the Adamawa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, had affirmed Fintiri’s election, dismissing Binani’s petition for lacking in merit.

At yesterday’s proceedings, Binani’s lawyer, Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, urged the apex court to invoke Section 152 of the Electoral Act, 2022 to declare Binani as the lawfully elected governor of Adamawa State.

According to Olujimi, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), who pronounced Binani winner of the March 18, 2023, governorship election, had powers under the Electoral Act to do so.

It was his submission that as a staff of the INEC, the REC could not be faulted for making declaration in the election he superintendent over.

But, Fintiri’s lawyer, Damian Dodo, SAN, pleaded with the court to reject the arguments of Binani in its entirety for being baseless and against the clear provisions of the law.

Dodo argued that the REC lacked power to make declaration on election, adding that the only person vested with power to do so is the Returning Officer.

According to the senior lawyer, the REC, who made the alleged unlawful declaration refused bluntly to show up at the tribunal to give evidence and justify his actions and has since been on the run.

In addition, Fintiri’s lawyer claimed that until now, the appellants had not produced or tendered the results used by the fleeing Resident Electoral Commissioner to back up their claims of victory at the Adamawa governorship election.

After listening to all parties, Justice John Okoro, who led the five-member panel, announced that judgment had been reserved to a date that would be communicated to parties in the appeal.

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, had last December dismissed Binani’s appeal against the election of Fintiri as Governor of Adamawa State.

The appellate court in a unanimous judgment dismissed the appeal for being incompetent and lacking in merit and subsequently affirmed the declaration of Fintiri as winner of the March 18 governorship election in Adamawa State.

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