The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) filed a six-count complaint against its suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Adamawa State, Hudu Yunusa-Ari, at the Yola High Court on Thursday.

In a statement, the electoral commission said it initiated the step after evaluating the police case file, which showed a prima facie case against Yunusa-Ari.

Remember that Yunusa-Ari was arrested by the police for his acts during the Adamawa State governorship election?

He was given administrative bail and ordered to report to the Nigeria Police Force headquarters on a regular basis.

INEC’s National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, has stated that the commission will act “soon” on the case.

“I am aware that the police have completed their investigations, and I am aware that Nigerians will be informed of what will happen in the coming weeks.”

“Under the law, it is the responsibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission to prosecute him (Ari) if a prima facie case has been made out against him,” Okoye stated.

Yunusa-Ari’s problem began when he declared Aisha ‘Binani’ Dahiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of the supplementary poll (April 15) while the results were still being collated.

The Commission overturned Yunusa-Ari’s decision and suspended him, while former President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a thorough inquiry into the electoral commissioner and the security forces present when he made the pronouncement.

INEC then declared the incumbent governor, Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party, the genuine winner of the spectacular election.

In his defense, Yunusa-Ari stated that he announced the results of 69 voting units in the April 15 supplementary election owing to security concerns.

In a letter to the then-Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, INEC chairman, and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, he explained his reasoning for the April 16 statement.

According to Ari, he acted within the bounds of the law to avert the looming threat of a delay in announcing the results, especially after noticing that the results brought by the presiding officers from the 69 polling units, which he did not sign, differed from those uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing portal.

Attempts to replace him as collation officer with the administrative secretary, threats by candidates to cause mayhem, commissioners appointing ‘illegal collation officers,’ and his house being surrounded by policemen from the Government House were among the other risks he faced during the election.

“I compiled all of the polling unit results and declared the winner of the election based on the highest number of valid votes received by the APC candidate.”

“I had a breakdown of the valid votes cast for the two leading candidates in the supplementary election, using the results from the polling units as collated into all relevant forms EC8B, C, D, and E by properly and legally appointed and recognized collation officers and my humble self as the Adamawa State Chief Collation Officer and Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).”

“Prior to the declaration, there was an intelligence report made available to me that the two national commissioners were at the Government House, Yola at 8:31pm on April 15, 2023 and held a meeting with Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Okoye stated that the court has set July 12 as the start date for the trial.

“After reviewing the Police case file, which established a prima facie case against Barr. Hudu Yunusa Ari, the commission filed a six-count charge against him at the Adamawa State High Court in Yola.” As a result, the court has scheduled the trial to begin on Wednesday, July 12, 2023,” Okoye said, without elaborating on the charges.

In accordance with Section 145(2) of the Electoral Act 2022, he stated that the prosecution would be handled by its legal officials and other pro-bono lawyers from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

“According to Section 145(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, an offence committed under the Act shall be triable in a Magistrate Court or a High Court of the State in which the offence is committed, or in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”

Furthermore, Section 145(2) of the Act states that “prosecutions under the Act shall be carried out by legal officers of the Commission or any legal practitioner appointed by it,” he added.

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