Recent events in Adamawa State are beginning to paint a clearer picture of the electoral saga where victims are vilified while perpetrators of criminal acts are cast as heroes. The arrest of security details and some political acolytes of the Governor of Adamawa State for alleged crimes related to the molestation of some individuals is putting the Adamawa saga in their proper perspective.
All of those crimes were earlier wrongfully heaped on Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani. As the fog begins to clear, we now know that the mob actions that led to the unfortunate molestations of an INEC National Commissioner, some staff of the Commission and some Security officials including a Deputy director of the DSS were all carried out by the Chief Detail to the Governor, one Ahmad Umar; some security personnel attached to the Government House; a serving Local Government Chairman; a former Local Government Chairman of Madagali and some PDP thugs.
The PDP in the state confirmed this when the state chairman, Barrister A.T Shehu, led a protest to the DSS office on Wednesday 26th of April demanding their release. We are also aware that the officer who claimed Senator Binani gave the REC N2 billion was tortured to the point of making false confessions to save his life. If money changed hands at all, it may have been the other way round. Those who forced false confessions are the most likely offenders. Truth like pregnancy will soon manifest for all to see. We understand that a number of other persons are on the run.
Some of them are expected to provide vital evidence in the saga. One top official of the governor’s campaign organization was caught on camera shamelessly apologizing to the brutalized INEC official and claiming that what happened was mistaken identity. So, they had the intention of carrying out jungle justice on some innocent persons just because in their desperation to have their way, they were willing to waste even human life. We had always warned that the PDP government in Adamawa State was weaponizing violence as a means to secure undeserved victory.
These incidences have proved us right and clearly explained the grand plan to declare the governor as the winner of the elections no matter the outcome of the votes. Two often overlooked incidences should be made open for the world to know. First the INEC Head of ICT in Yola was alleged to have tempered with the BVAS machines and even the uploads to the server. As proof of his negative role in the saga, INEC redeployed him to the Headquarters vide a letter dated 4th of April, 2023.
Unfortunately, the public is not allowed to interrogate this occurrence. In fact, it was safely tucked away as if nothing had happened. The second unfortunate incidence which is overlooked is the changing of Returning Officers by the National Commissioners while results were being collated. How could that have been done? Why change an umpire in the middle of the game? As at the time the REC took charge all results were collated by the genuine collation officers, it was these mercenary elements that were being awaited. And in order to achieve their illegality, they tried to suspend the REC, thus, undermining his role as the chief electoral officer of Adamawa State.
All these occurrences are neatly buried in their well-orchestrated negative narratives while being hidden from the public. So, what does all these tell us about the Adamawa electoral saga?
Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani who has been cast as the villain in the crisis is actually the victim of a well-oiled plan to steal her mandate and confer it on a candidate who knew the game and had his way with people trusted with ensuring the neutrality of the electoral umpire. And a well-orchestrated propaganda machine was unleashed to make sure all is reversed and blamed on the victim.
When Senator Binani raised the issue of misapplication of the BVAS technology during the elections and demanded for a review as provided by law, INEC ignored it. When the authentic results from Fufore were tempered with and a fake result manufactured under duress at a police station with PDP slogans chanted, the wrong action was ignored. Instead, this undeniably false result was brought to INEC who took no steps to correct the anomaly or even cancel it as provided by sections 64 of the Electoral Act 2022. Rather the Commission accepted the doctored results and worked with it. Even when some units were supposedly cancelled in Fufore, they were not included in the rerun process. Was there a connivance or an obvious indication that one existed?
Honestly in the face of all these anomalies neatly hidden under a dirty smelly carpet, it seems pretty obvious that beyond connivance, there was a gang up as well. However, the conspiracy against Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani goes beyond just what happened during the elections and the dance drama choreographed by some officials of the electoral body. First, there are those who are uncomfortable with her as a woman. Gender bias is almost a norm in all patriarchal societies including Nigeria. Then there are those within the APC who didn’t want her to succeed and they did everything to stop her. Their reason was mostly selfish, claiming that a new governor will spend eight years whereas the current one has only four years. The next contest was their only concern. Others simply resent Senator Binani for achieving feats they will never achieve. There is also the extreme desperation of the PDP government in Adamawa State which made them introduce religion into the already ugly mix.
Even the revered traditional institutions were not spared from being part of the conspiracy. Do we have proof of all these conspiracies? Yes, we do. Some of them are rearing their ugly heads after the declaration of the governor as winner. While some hypocritical Ulama were busy receiving money to declare that Islam forbids women from leadership despite the fact that PDP has a woman as Deputy Governorship candidate, some Christians were on a crusade against Fulani-Muslims. When the announcement was made, they went on a disgraceful spree of burning certain Islamic insignia such as hijabs, prayer mats, ablution kettles and prayer beads. To rub it in further, they slaughtered swine and dogs publicly for celebration. That was sad, unfortunate and despicable. Yet till date, no statement of condemnation or even call for moderation was heard from the government or their top officials.
In the case of traditional rulers, many were threatened that if Senator Binani makes a good showing in their domains, they will lose their crowns. It was such a mean and unfortunate threat. But it was real. By the 29th of April, the district heads of Ribadu in Fufore and Danaba in Ganye have been suspended. The district head of MayoFarang resigned in order to avoid embarrassment. Earlier, the district head of Madagali whose title is “Sarki Yaki Mubi” was removed and his title taken over by the governor. Even ordinary citizens were not spared the onslaught. Contracts were to be terminated and title deeds of land owned by some individuals may be revoked. This is really sad. Conspiracies, connivance, threats, subterfuge and the weaponization of violence were all the factors that combined to play out against Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani in the 2023 Governorship election in Adamawa State.
But like all conspirators, mistakes were made. Some are as clear as a sore thumb. The tribunal will unearth them and restore the stolen mandate to the rightful owner. Intrigue has very short legs. It can run very fast, but will be easily caught by the giant strides of truth. Adamawa needs a change of leadership. We need a leadership that is neither vindictive nor myopic to the point of creating huge gaps within our natural fault lines. Genuine victors give thanks to God, forgive those who wronged them and accept all as a trust from God. Usurpers become paranoid and vindictive. We pray Adamawa is saved from this paranoia and unbridled anger. We look up to the tribunal and the judicial process to save us by the grace of God.