Connect with us

Politics

Many contradictions of Bello’s ‘double registration’ in Kogi

Published

on

Spread the love

Many contradictions of Bello’s ‘double registration’ in Kogi

By John Akubo,

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may be at the receiving end in the double voters registration scandal involving the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello as the governor has turned the heat on the electoral body by pointing to an error on the part of the commission to deny the allegations. The commission, which accused the governor of double registration, first in 2011 in Abuja and recently in Lokoja during the on-going exercise, with a promise to have him prosecuted after dropping the shield of immunity, claimed that the second registration took place last May 23rd, a day the governor is on record to have traveled outside Nigeria. The issue has raised a lot of dust in Kogi as many politicians express doubt about the credibility of the electoral body to conduct the 2019 elections. However, the governor’s defence, which is seen by many as an afterthought to latch on to the obvious error of date by INEC, may not extricate him from the accusation of double registration, an offence punishable under Nigeria electoral laws. The photograph of INEC officials and the data machine capturing the governor was posted on social media by some of his aides who thought they were boosting their principal’s image but inadvertently showing the governor as doing double registration. The photograph elicited such reactions and condemnations from critics that INEC had to issue as statement condemning the act. In the statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Voters Education Committee, Solomon Soyebi, INEC said, “It has come to our attention that Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello registered as a voter for the second time on Tuesday May 23, at Government House in Lokoja. His first registration was on January 30, 2011, in Wuse Zone 4, Abuja. “The governor’s double registration, and doing so outside lNEC’s designated centres, are both illegal. For the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), INEC has designated a centre in each of the country’s 774 local governments areas, including FCT’s six area councils.” Chairman of the electoral body, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who hinted that the governor might be prosecuted whenever he leaves office, disclosed that an investigation was in progress and that the commission was waiting for the outcome. According to him, “We have already issued a statement on the incident and there is nothing more to add at the moment. Our Kogi Office is investigating the role of our staff in the matter. The commission is awaiting the outcome of the investigation for further action. “This is not something one can comment on because it is dependent on whenever his tenure ends. For now, this is the action we have taken. Our constraint is that we cannot prosecute a serving governor. Let me reiterate that it is illegal to register more than once.” Asked if there are other cases of multiple registrations, the INEC boss replied, “No, but at the end of the exercise we are going to have what we call d-duplication, where we would compare the data coming from the field with what we already have. It is only when we do this that we can authoritatively say some people have registered more than once. This one was detected because he is a high profile personality and it was on the Internet.” But the governor, while denying the allegation and mocking INEC, said it must have been his ghost that did the second registration because he left the country for a brief holiday four days earlier than the 23rd of May, they claimed he committed the alleged crime. He said he was in Dubai for a brief holiday during the period stressing, “I was taken aback that I did double registration on 23rd. Probably it is my ghost that has done the double registration. I think INEC has earned itself a very high reputation and I think and I am very confident that the leadership if INEC will not allow some element in INEC to drag the name of the commission into the mud. Surely that’s a falsehood. I did not do double registration of permanent voters card.” The governor’s denial was a departure from his earlier position when, in his May 29th Democracy Day speech delivered at the Lokoja Local Government secretariat, he said would not join issues with the electoral body. He had then questioned the possibility of anybody registering twice under the highly sophisticated INEC automated registration system and blamed some staff of the commission for overzealousness and attempting to corrupt politicians. His words: “You cannot rule out some overzealous staff in INEC who are used to old ways as people corrupting the politicians but those days are over. They should not drag the name of that institution to the mud. “I have confidence that our erudite professor Mahmoud Yakubu will build on the legacies left behind for him we will never join issues with INEC.” Further dust was however raised by the governor’s spokesman, Kingsley Fanwo who created more contradictions in earlier statements where he acknowledged that his boss actually registered twice and that there was nothing illegal in the act. Fanwo, who is the director-General of Bello’s media and publicity, argued that the governor had to register again in Kogi, because nothing had come out of efforts to get INEC to transfer his voter’s card from Abuja to the state. He acknowledged the photograph of the governor being registered in his Lokoja office, which he said had elicited “hysterical overplay.” According to him, “The governor’s efforts to transfer the card from Abuja to Kogi has not been successful, hence the need to seize this golden opportunity to get registered in the state. Secondly, as the governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello is the chief mover of government policies. He must always lead by example. He needed to demonstrate that to the whole world to woo others to go and register. There was nothing wrong with registering in the Governor’s Office because it belongs to all Kogites. Government House is People’s House.” In another breath, Fanwo said the issue was straight forward enough as the governor welcomes the decision of INEC to cancel the latter registration. The entire saga has however raised some questions about the operations of INEC and its preparedness to handle election matters, sincerity of the governor and his aides and whether the matter would continue till after Bello leaves office. For instance, why has it been difficult for INEC to transfer the governors PVC from Abuja to Okene if he actually registered in the first instance as the electoral body claimed? Secondly inquisitive minds are curious on how the second registration can happen when INEC had earlier made voters to believe that with their automated system, any second attempt to register will cancel the earlier registration. And again, between INEC, Governor Bello and his media handlers who is lying? Yet the burden of prove lies with the electoral body that accuse the governor of the illegality as the date they quoted to be when Bello committed the offence was when he was out of the country. According to a Lokoja lawyer, Joel Usman, double registration is a criminal offence and if the governor is found to be involved, he would be subject to prosecution. He said much proof is not needed because INEC registration is by biometrics for which any attempt to double register would be discovered in the course of time in their database. While questioning the integrity of INEC in the whole saga, he blamed the governor for the alleged act saying, It is laughable and an embarrassment for a governor to claim ignorance of the law not just on him, but on the state. Another lawyer and former chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) in the state, Williams Aliwo said, “registration is a matter of record and that the electoral act is very clear on when to register, how and who to register. This is why if you want to find out whether a person is registered, it is not a matter of pictures but the matter of the record.” Culled from The Guardian

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Politics

Nasarawa PDP tackles Gov Sule over alleged poor performance

Published

on

By

Spread the love

From Abel Daniel, Lafia

The Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP Nasarawa State chapter has described Governor Abdullahi Sule as the weakest and non performing governor since creation of the state.

The state chairman of the PDP, chief Francis Orogu while addressing journalists in his office yesterday described Governor Sule as an impotent Governor who is doing nothing to develop the state since his emergence as Governor.

“Governor Sule is doing nothing to develop the state as far as I am concern. He is like a man married to a woman but cannot impregnate the woman”, Orogu lashed out at Sule.
Orogu alleged that Governor Sule has not started and completed any physical project since he took the oath of office.
Orogu however regretted that the media who are suppose to amplify the voice of the opposition are silent.
The chairman appealed to citizens to remain patient and prayerful despite the hardship and misrule of the ruling party.

Continue Reading

Politics

INEC boss pledges to supervise direct primary if Buhari signs bill

Published

on

By

Spread the love

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday, said the electoral body would ensure implementation of direct primary as passed by the National Assembly as soon as it is assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The INEC boss, at an interactive meeting with senior jdetaiists in Lagos, said he had the political will to implement any law that would advance democracy in Nigeria.

By this declaration, the electoral body might have put to rest speculations by opponents of direct primary that INEC may not have the capacity to supervise direct mode of electing party’s candidates if it becomes law.

Yakubu said: “Since it emerged that the direct primary clause was included in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, many of you have been asking the commission for its position. But the issue is not about our position, but the process. In the exercise of its constitutional power, the National Assembly has passed the bill into law awaiting the President’s assent. Once the process is concluded, the bill becomes law and every person and authority in Nigeria, including the commission, must obey.

“The commission will give expeditious consideration to the law, including the detailed regulations and guidelines for its implementation where necessary.”

When asked by The Guardian if the electoral body has the capacity to supervise direct primary if the President assents the bill, he said: “I won’t say more than what I have said. My point is very clear.”

Also speaking on the just-concluded Anambra State governorship election, Yakubu said despite the fact that the election was conducted under difficult circumstances, the commission was able to conduct credible and fair election, noting that few technical glitches experienced during the poll would be corrected before 2023 general elections.

He blamed the technical issues on some trained ad-hoc members of staff that absconded few hours to the election and difficulties posed by commercial transport owners hired to carry technical officers to some areas.

“I want to reassure Nigerians that we have learnt vital lessons from the Anambra pilot. There will be remarkable improvement in the next major election, which is the end-of-tenure area council election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) scheduled to hold on February 12, 2022,” he said.

Culled from the Guadian

Continue Reading

Politics

2023: Jigawa delegates urge Bello to run for President

Published

on

By

Spread the love

An envoy from Jigawa made up of political and religious stakeholders have urged the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, to throw his heart in the ring for the 2023 Presidential election.

The group of Jigawa leaders, who visited Bello on Saturday, based their call on what they described as above board performance, as they listed areas of security, inclusive governance, youth and women empowerment and infrastructure as his selling points

Bello, while responding commended the delegation promising not to take the call to serve for granted.

He told them that many Nigerians have continued to call on him to run for the Presidency and he would not betray them or breach the trust they have reposed in him.

“I am so happy to receive a delegation from Jigawa State. This delegation is not just an ordinary delegation, these are delegations who have always been with President Muhammadu Buhari ever since he ventured into politics till date. These delegations make things happen in Jigawa State.”

“They have come to lend their voices to very many Nigerians who have been calling me to run for the Presidency in 2023, and by the grace of God, I will not disappoint them.”

Governor Bello also said that the fight against insecurity would not succeed without carrying the grassroots along.

He stated that he was able to successfully fight against security challenges because he was more connected to the grassroots than most politicians in Nigeria.

According to him, the grassroots have assisted him in curbing insecurity and achieving the present level of development being recorded in Kogi State.

He said that like President Muhammadu Buhari, he was more at home with the people.

“I wouldn’t have succeeded in Kogi State in curbing the insecurity, unity, togetherness, and modest achievement without the grassroots.
“The difference between me and some leaders is that I am connected to the grassroots. The grassroots is where politics is and any administration that is not connected to the grassroots has no business with governance.

“We have learnt from President Buhari, that you must be connected to the grassroots, with the grassroots supporting me and all of us and supporting President Buhari to succeed, we can only come on board to build on his (Buhari’s) successes.”

Continue Reading

Trending