Now that the storm in the drama-filled Adamawa gubernatorial election has subdued, the two big contenders- Aishatu Dahiru Binani and Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri will have the opportunity to strategize for their next steps.

On Binani’s path, there are two junctions- first, stick to the moment. Second, make a U-turn to a new path.

The fact is, the actions of the now-suspended Adamawa state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Hudu Yunusa have ‘dented’ Binani’s public sympathy, especially outside Adamawa. The REC’s actions have put the APC on the edge. So, Binani needs both ‘on-the-shelves’ and ‘off-the-shelves strategies, as her next moves may make or mar her political future. She has three (3) options.

First, continue to insist that she is the Governor-Elect, as declared by REC, Hudu Yunusa Ari. In this case, Binani will approach the tribunal with a sole demand – the court to proclaim her Governor-Elect, based on Section 149 of the Electoral Act 2022, which states that: ‘Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Act, any defect or error arising from any actions taken by an official of the Commission in relation to any notice, form or document made or given or other things done by the official in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution or of this Act, or any rules made thereunder remain valid, unless otherwise challenged and declared invalid by a competent court of law or tribunal.

The second option for Binani is to pursue her cause through the tribunal while completely ignoring Hudu’s bizarre actions. She can reinforce her case by hammering on the alleged irregularities in some local government areas, during the 18th March 2023 gubernatorial election. Places like Governor Ahmadu Umaru’s village- Madagali LGA, which claimed a 42.2% voter turnout

Binani’s third opposition is to retreat- congratulate Fintiri, discard the option of any litigation and move for the future.

These three options have implications for Binani, Adamawa politics, and the Nigerian polity.

If Binani and her team decide to take the first option, she would be testing the effectiveness and the efficacy of section 149 of the Electoral Act 2023. While it will be good for democracy, as the court will interpret the section, INEC will do whatever possible to save its face. The Tinubu government may be interested as well, because it may want to distance itself from Hudu’s actions to show the international community and Nigerian ‘eagle eyes’ that the election which brought Tinubu to power was fair and that the umpiring was not jungle-like. Binani taking this option means that many heads will roll, as Hudu may spill the beans. Binani may also continue to lose support because Hudu’s actions were a ‘third-rate’ action in politics, (elections are best won at the polling units). REC Hudu’s action has attracted many observers even outside Nigeria.

For the second option, Binani has good advantages over Fintiri, if she can assemble an excellent legal team, alongside experienced politicians, political experts, and intellectuals from Adamawa to provide data, facts and figures, and shreds of evidence to back up the claims of irregularities during the elections. Binani has a bright chance of winning the case based on technicalities, while Fintiri will face a lot of hurdles here. This option is very expensive and requires both political and individual commitment from Binani’s team.

The third option for Binani is to retreat, congratulate Fintiri, and move on. This is the most difficult option for her, in fact, for any politician who has come as far as she has. If Binani goes for this option, many of her supporters will be initially demoralized. But in the long run, she would relieve the entire polity of the suspense, uncertainty, and the unknowns. In fact, the investigations on Hudu Yunusa, securities heads, and other people will be inconsequential. Binani will rediscover herself, remove the dent of Hudu’s action on her political outlook, and technically trounces her adversaries in the Adamawa APC. She will create the road to becoming Adamawa’s version of Kwankwasiya because of her well-known philosophical activities and for being an Iron Lady. Furthermore, with this option- Binani will ‘save the day’ for many people. But it is a very difficult option, only politicians operating with a complete mind of their own will opt for such an option. It requires foresight to see tomorrow from today.

Binani may have depleted her arsenal, but she has had a good fight- Fintiri will not forget her in a jiffy.


Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja, 08036070980

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