EXCLUSIVE: How Disgraced Adamawa Resident Electoral Commissioner, Yunusa-Ari Was Flown Out Of Yola In Private Jet After Wrongfully Declaring Binani As Governor-Elect
Hudu Yunusa-Ari, the Residential Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa State suspended for violating the provision of the Electoral Act, 2022 was flown out of Yola, the state capital, in a private jet on Sunday.
SaharaReporters investigation revealed that Yunusa-Ari was flown out of the city immediately after he illegally and wrongfully announced Aishatu Dahiru Binani, the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the governorship election in the state.
This followed a supplementary governorship election held in the state on Saturday.
Yunusa-Ari on Sunday declared Binani as the winner of the poll even though the collation of results of the supplementary election had yet to be completed.
He bizarrely allocated 221,303 votes to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and the incumbent governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, which represented a 50 per cent shortfall from his initial 400,000 votes.
On March 20, 2023, SaharaReporters reported that the Adamawa State governorship election had been declared inconclusive, with Governor Fintiri leading with 421,524.
Declaring the polls inclusive, the returning officer, Prof Mohammed Mele, said the election was inconclusive because the number of cancelled votes exceeded the margin of victory.
When collation resumed after the supplementary election on Saturday, April 15, the returning officer, Mele, after the collating results from about 10 local government areas, adjourned collation to 11:00 am on Sunday.
However, as early as 9:00 am, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Yunusa-Ari, in company with the police commissioner in charge of election duties, Mohammed Barde, and some other heads of security agencies, announced Binani as the winner.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, however, swiftly nullified the announcement and invited the REC to its headquarters in Abuja.
On Thursday evening, President Muhammadu Buhari approved Yunusa-Ari’s immediate suspension pending the completion of an investigation by the Inspector General of Police on his conduct/actions during the election.
The President, through a statement by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, also directed his immediate prosecution, if found liable.
However, SaharaReporters findings revealed that Yunusa-Ari was flown to Abuja from Yola immediately after announcing Binani as the winner of the election.
He was flown out of Yola in a private jet with registration number – (NG) 5N-IKO. SaharaReporters could not ascertain the identity of the owner of the Raytheon Hawker 800XP, as further investigation only showed it was registered to an ‘unknown owner’.
The aircraft’s model reads S – 0642EC while its serial number is 258547.
Investigation showed that the private aircraft left Yola at exactly 12.58 pm on Sunday, shortly after Yunusa-Ari made the announcement, and touched down in Abuja at exactly 1.38 pm, after flying for 40 minutes.
The aircraft left Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos at 7.09 pm on Thursday, April 20, 2023 and was last seen near Ibadan, Oyo State at 7.28 pm.
“After the illegal declaration, the rogue REC was flown out of Yola in a private jet,” a source confirmed to SaharaReporters.
On March 19, a day after the governorship election in Adamawa State, SaharaReporters exclusively reported how Yunusa-Ari in a leaked audio obtained by the newspaper, the REC told an election official, Hammajam Mohammed to do everything humanly possible to make Binani win.
He told the electoral official that he was instructed by a higher authority to make Binani win.
Yunusa-Ari directed Mohammed to rig the election in favour of the APC candidate, according to the conversation in the leaked audio.
The audio conversation goes thus:
Yunusa-Ari (REC): Is that our official from Gombi?
Mohammed: No sir, I’m from Fufore, sir.
Yunusa-Ari (REC): I’ve heard what happened, however, do whatever you can to help this woman (Binani), that’s why I gave you an extra results sheet. Please, just do anything to make her scale through.
But when contacted, Yunusa-Ari denied the allegation but attempted to negotiate with SaharaReporters’ correspondent to kill the report.
Around that time, the collation of results was temporarily suspended in Furore town where the incident occurred.
In another development, an officer of Nigeria’s secret police, Department of State Services (DSS) on Sunday alleged that Yunusa-Ari was paid N2 billion to declare Binani as the winner of the governorship election in the state.
In a viral video, the DSS officer identified as Isa, explained that the REC collected N2 billion to declare Binani as the winner but denied any involvement in the fraud.
“I told you while we were in the car that the REC collected money running into billions of naira to rig the election. I don’t know the exact amount but let’s put it at N2 billion,” Isa said.
Asked what he was doing around the REC’s place, he responded, “I swear to God I didn’t collude with him in the bribery; I was detailed with my team to arrest him instead.”