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No, first female governor-elect not declared in Nigeria's Adamawa state

Binani not governor elect

IN SHORT: The election in this northeastern state in Nigeria was closely watched, as it could have led to the country’s first elected female governor. But the vote was not called in her favour, as claimed online.

Nigeria held elections for governors and state assemblies in 28 states on 18 March 2023. Winners have, at time of writing, been declared in some states, but in others the election was inconclusive or suspended.

A claim has appeared online that the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Aishatu Dahiru, popularly known as Binani, had been declared governor-elect in Adamawa state.

Adamawa is in the northeastern part of Nigeria. 

Dahiru was a sitting senator, representing Adamawa Central.

The election in Adamawa was closely contested between the incumbent governor, Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party, and Dahiru.

Dahiru had a total of 390,275 votes while Fintiri had 421,524 votes.

Since Nigeria's return to democracy in 1999, none of the country's states have had a female governor at the helm. As Dahiru ran on the ticket of the APC, the governing party, many hoped she would become the first female governor-elect in Nigeria's history.

We found similar claims on Facebook here, here, here and here

But has Dahiru been declared governor-elect in Adamawa? We checked.

Binani not governor elect

Election inconclusive, Inec says

According to a media report, the state collation officer, Prof Mohammed Mele, said elections in 69 polling stations were cancelled, which meant 37,016 eligible voters could not vote, or were disenfranchised.

This is significant because, based on the votes that were cast for both parties, Fintiri defeated Dahiru with a margin of 31,249 votes.

The returning officer in the state, Prof Andrew Haruna, declared the election inconclusive at a press conference on 20 March.

Before making the declaration, Haruna read out the legal position on which the decision was based.

Haruna said the election can be declared inconclusive “where the margin of lead between the two leading candidates in an election is not in excess of the total number of voters registered in polling units where elections are not held or voided in line with section 26 and 53 of the electoral act”.

The election was declared inconclusive as the number of voters in the affected polling stations was greater than the difference between the two leading candidates. Dahiru has, however, not been declared governor-elect of Adamawa state.


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