NIGERIA’S Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) has revealed that Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State will be prosecuted double registration during the recent gubernatorial election at the end of his tenure in 2024.
In November, Kogians went to the polls and in the gubernatorial contest, Governor Yahaya Bello of the ruling All Progressives Congress, beat his closest rival Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, who polled 189,704 votes. During the contest, however, Governor Bello registered at two polling units, which is a breach of the Nigerian Electoral Act.
Festus Okoye, Inec’s national commissioner and the chairman of its Voters’ Education and Information Committee, said that for this misdemeanour, the commission will institute a criminal case against Governor Bello at the end of his tenure. He added that Governor Bello is currently shielded by Nigeria’s immunity clause, which protects him against any form of prosecution.
However, Mr Okoye said action will be taken when the immunity lapses at the end of the governor’s tenure. He pointed out that the three Inec workers who were indicted in the governor’s double registration have been dismissed.
Mr Okoye said: “The case of double registration against the Kogi State governor has not been abandoned but there is nothing the commission can do now because he is still under immunity. However, by the time the immunity expires, the commission will meet and take a decision on the next line of action.
“We started with our workers who were implicated in the double registration, while we have to wait until the governor ceases to enjoy immunity, which protects him against prosecution. There are various stages involved as you have to investigate, prosecute and convict or acquit.
In November, Governor Bello told the Federal High Court Abuja, that he was ready to defend himself against the allegation of double registration brought against him by Natasha Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party. Governor Bello is expected to be sworn-in for a second term on the 27th of this month.