Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello, has denied accusations by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that registered twice in the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise.
A group, Kogi for Change, had drawn attention to Bello’s double registration and threatened to sue him, but Bello had claimed that the report that he registered twice was false.
Some days after he issued his denial, Solomon Soyebi, a national commissioner of INEC, said the commission carried out investigation and discovered that the governor did registrations on two occasions.
Soyebi said while Bello’s first registration was done in Abuja on January 30, 2011, the second one took place at government house, Lokoja, on May 23.
He vowed that the staff who registered Bello the second time would be sanctioned.
But speaking with reporters after observing Ju’maat prayer at the presidential villa in Abuja, Bello advised INEC not to allow “some elements” tarnish its image.
He said he was in Dubai “on a short break” when he saw reports of him registering twice.
“I travelled on 19th (of May) to Dubai for a brief break and I saw the press release and I was taken aback that I did double registration on 23rd. Probably it is my ghost that did double registration,” he said.
“I think INEC has earned itself a very high reputation and I think and I am very confident that the leadership of INEC will not allow some elements to drag the name of the commission into the mud.
“Surely, that’s a falsehood. I did not do double registration.”
On the demand of Dino Melaye, lawmaker representing Kogi west senatorial district, that Bello should step down for committing electoral fraud, the governor said, “I will respond when a human being is speaking.
“I don’t think I have to waste my time responding to distractions. Honestly speaking I’m too focused to be distracted.
“Kogi state suffered for over 25 years before I came onboard and the good people of Kogi are really appreciative of the efforts we are putting forward to make sure that the state is well developed… Go to Kogi state website to see what we have done in the 15 months that we have been in the office.
” So, any side distraction is not something I should pay attention to, because the people are with me.”
He also spoke on the resolution of governors to clear salary arrears and pension backlog when the second tranche of the Paris Club Refund is released.
“The issue of salary arrears is a very worrisome problem to all of us, the governors and Mr President,” he said.
“The other tranche of Paris Club Refund will be paid to all the states now. We all met and we resolved to make use of substantial part of that refund to clear some of the salary arrears.”