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No, Nigeria's electoral body hasn't declared Aisha Dahiru the winner of the Adamawa governorship election

IN SHORT: The race for governor of Nigeria's northeastern state of Adamawa has had its twists and turns. But it did not produce the country's first female governor.

The 18 March 2023 governorship election in Nigeria’s Adamawa state was a tight race between the incumbent, Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Aisha Dahiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Dahiru was a serving senator representing Adamawa Central. Adamawa state is located in the northeast region of the country.

However, the election was declared inconclusive by the electoral body because the number of voters in polling stations where there hadn't been a vote or where the vote had been invalidated was greater than the difference between the two candidates.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) is responsible for elections in Nigeria. 

A supplementary election was held in the state on 15 April.

But a message posted on Facebook in Nigeria claims that Inec has declared Dahiru, popularly known as “Binani”, as the winner of the 15 April election.

It reads: “ JUST IN: Binani declared winner of the Adamawa State Re Run election by INEC.”

“She’s is the first Elected Female Governor in Nigeria. Congratulations Binani.”

We had previously debunked a similar claim that Dahiru won the 18 March election to become Nigeria’s first female governor.

We found this more recent claim on Facebook here, here and here

But has Inec declared Dahiru the winner of the Adamawa supplementary election? We checked.


‘Official overreached his powers’

Local media reported that the state’s resident electoral commissioner, or REC, Hudu Ari, had declared Dahiru the winner of the election on 15 April before the results had been fully collated.

An REC conducts and supervises elections in states and the federal capital territory (FCT). 

Only the returning officer can collate, announce the election results and declare the results of an election. Ari’s declaration therefore contradicts electoral guidelines.

In a statement issued on 16 April, Inec suspended the collation of the election results and asked the commissioner and other officials involved in the process to report to its headquarters in Abuja.

“The action of the REC is a usurpation of power of the Returning Officer and therefore null, void and of no effect. Consequently, the collation of the result of the supplementary election held yesterday 15th April 2023 is suspended forthwith," it read.

Ari was stripped of his powers and suspended by Inec, according to a second statement released on 17 April.

Inec resumed collation of the results of the supplementary election on 18 April and has declared Fintiri the winner.

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