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Voter registration scandal: Gov. Bello replies INEC, blames ‘ghost’

Yahaya Bello being registered by an INEC personnel in his office
Yahaya Bello being registered by an INEC personnel in his office

Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has dismissed an allegation by the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that he registered
twice as a voter in Abuja and subsequently in Lokoja.
Mr. Bello said this when he spoke to State House correspondents in
Abuja on Friday after observing the two-raka’at Juma’at prayer at the
Aso Rock Mosque.

The governor was caught on camera registering for a permanent card in Kogi after doing so earlier in Abuja.

His office defended the action, blaming INEC for not delivering the first card to the governor.
INEC on May 25 via a statement issued by its national commissioners
and chairman, information and voter education committee, Solomon Soyebi,
confirmed that Mr. Bello registered twice as a voter.
The commission however said Mr. Bello was protected by constitutional immunity from prosecution.
Mr. Soyebi said the governor first registered in Abuja in January,
2011, and subsequently on May 23, 2017, in Government House, Lokoja.

He described the governor’s double registration and doing so outside lNEC’s designated centres as illegal.

Reacting to the allegation, Mr. Bello said it might be his ghost that must have done the double registration and not him.
“I travelled on (May) 19 to Dubai for a brief break and I saw the
press release and I was taken aback that I did a double registration on
(May) 23rd; probably it’s my ghost that must have done the double
registration.

“I think INEC has earned itself a very high reputation and I’m very
confident that the leadership of INEC will not allow some elements to
drag its name into the mud.
“Actually, that is a falsehood; I did not do double registration of permanent voter card,’’ he said.
The INEC statement read: “It has come to the attention of INEC that
Gov. Bello of Kogi state registered as a voter for the second time on
Tuesday May 23, 2017, in Government House, Lokoja, the state capital.

“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 on-going Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, INEC
has designated a centre in each of the country’s 774 local government
areas including FCT’s six area councils.’’
INEC has since dissociated itself from the governor’s action while it
also pledged to take disciplinary action against its staff implicated
in the second registration for Bello.
On outstanding salary arrears of workers in Kogi, the governor
pledged to abide by the decision of the governors’ forum to use part of
the outstanding Paris Club refund meant for the state to settle the
arrears.
Mr. Bello also frowned at those calling for his impeachment over
alleged non-performance, saying his achievements in the last 15 months
could be seen by well-meaning citizens of the state.

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