One of the governorship aspirant in the forthcoming November 16 Kogi state governorship election, Bar Natasha Akpoti, has demanded the disqualification of Governor Yahaya Bello from the election over multiple registration.
Bar Akpoti stated this in a suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja by her lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
She contended that Bello’s act of double registration as a voter grossly violated section 24(e) of the Electoral Act, and as such he should not be disqualified but also be barred from holding public office for 10 years.
Bar Akpoti also prayed for another order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission to “thoroughly investigate the act of double registration” and “to immediately prosecute him upon the expiration of his first tenure of office as governor of Kogi State in January 2020”.
Her lawyer, Ozekhome, in the Originating Summons, argued as part of the grounds of the suit, that “by his willful act of making double registration”, Bello as APC’s candidate, “is not a fit and proper persons to be allowed by the 2nd defendant (INEC) to vote or be voted for in the forthcoming Kogi State governorship election, having committed acts of electoral fraud”.
The senior lawyer also maintained that Bello underwent double voter registration as a voter in gross violation of the electoral law, and that INEC had sacked two of its employees who allegedly “aided and abetted Yahaya Bello in his act of double registration as a voter”.
In the affidavit sworn to by Bar Natasha Akpoti, in support of the suit, she said she contested the March 23, 2019 Kogi Central senatorial election but lost.
She noted that she had emerged as the Social Democratic Party’s candidate in the forthcoming governorship election in the state but was unjustifiably disqualified by INEC.
Akpoti alleged that Bello first registered as a voter in Abuja in 2011 and procured the second voter registration in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital in May 2017.
She added that as a confirmation of the alleged infraction by Bello, the governor subsequently transferred his Permanent Voter Card from Abuja to Lokoja while the second registration done in Lokoja was still subsisting.
The plaintiff also said INEC had severally threatened to prosecute Bello for the said act of double registration with the Commission but failed to take any discernable action in stopping him from contesting the governorship election.
She therefore sought among other prayers, a declaration by the court that Bello, “has by virtue of his double registration as a voter violated the provisions of section 24(e) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended”.
She sought “an order to disqualify or bar” the governor from contesting the forthcoming election “or for any political office for the 10 years pursuant to his violation of the provisions of the section 24(e) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended”.
The suit has yet to be assigned to a judge for hearing.