In a pivotal development on Monday, the Supreme Court of Nigeria announced the reservation of judgment on the appeal lodged by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate for Adamawa State, Aisha Dahiru, widely known as Binani. The appeal challenges the election victory of the incumbent governor, Ahmadu Fintiri.
The five-member panel, led by Justice John Okoro, made this decision after meticulously considering arguments presented by the involved parties during the proceedings.
The legal contention originated from the aftermath of the Adamawa governorship election. Initially, on March 20, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the election inconclusive. Mele Lamido, the returning officer, cited a slim margin between Fintiri, who secured 421,524 votes, and Binani, who garnered 390,275 votes. The unresolved outcome prompted a supplementary election scheduled for April 15 in 69 polling units where elections were canceled, involving a potential 37,016 voters.
Controversy escalated following the supplementary poll when Hudu Yunusa-Ari, then-resident electoral commissioner in Adamawa State (currently suspended), declared Binani as the winner in the absence of the returning officer and before the conclusion of the polls. INEC, however, invalidated this premature announcement and proceeded with the collation of results.
The final tally revealed Binani with 398,788 votes, while Fintiri emerged as the victor with 430,861 votes. Subsequently, Yunusa-Ari faced arrest and was handed over to the police for prosecution.
Before reaching the Supreme Court, both the state election petition tribunal and the Court of Appeal had dismissed Binani’s petition against Fintiri’s victory. The APC and its candidate are now seeking redress at the apex court, hopeful for a favorable judgment that could potentially alter the outcome of the Adamawa governorship election dispute. The reserved judgment marks a crucial turning point in this legal battle with implications for the political landscape in the state.