INEC Okays Yahaya Bello To Seek Re-Election
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed its position on the double registration allegation levelled against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
Naija News recalls Natasha Akpoti, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), had asked a federal high court in Abuja to disqualify the governor from seeking re-election in Kogi State over the issue of double registration as a voter.
Akpoti alleged Bello on May 23, 2017, at the government house in Lokoja did a second registration as a voter after he had reportedly registered as a voter in Abuja in 2011.
However, addressing the issue, INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu while speaking at a quarterly media meeting with journalists on Wednesday said the commission cannot disqualify Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, from contesting the November 16 governorship election in the state.
According to the INEC boss, double registration can’t be used to disqualify a candidate from contesting because it is not an offence under the electoral act.
Yakubu added that the commission also can’t prosecute Bello as he enjoys constitutional immunity as a sitting governor.
“On the issue of double registration, there is nothing INEC can do with someone who has constitutional immunity. The governor in question has a guaranteed constitutional immunity,” he said.
Prof. Yakubu, however, noted that INEC had sanctioned its staff involved in the double registration saga according to the rules of engagement guiding their operation.
“We disciplined our staff that were involved because it is within our reach to take administrative action against them. Moreover, the electoral act does not permit us to disqualify anyone based on the account of double registration.
“This is our handicap,” the INEC boss noted.
Meanwhile, Naija News reports Akpoti was the Kogi State governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for the 2019 governorship election but was disqualified by the electoral commission over an invalid nomination of her running mate.