The Senate has resolved to investigate the allegation of multiple voter registration against the Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello.
Controversy over Bello’s status started when he registered afresh in Lokoja, Kogi State, on May 23, 2017.
Describing the governor’s action as illegal and unconstitutional, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) alleged that Bello was involved in double registration, claiming that the governor had earlier registered at Wuse, Zone II, Abuja, on January 30, 2011.
For their involvement in the governor’s alleged illegal registration in 2017, a senior official of INEC was retired compulsorily from service, while two other personnel were summarily dismissed.
On February 23, the governor triggered a fresh controversy about his status as a registered voter, when he obtained a Temporary Voter Card at his Okene Ward.
Coming under Order 43, on Wednesday, a lawmaker representing Yobe South Senatorial District, Mohammed Hassan asked the Senate look into the matter.
“There’s this situation going round regarding the governor of Kogi State. It was reported, recently, on the pages of newspapers, that the Governor of Kogi State was involved in double registration with voters’ registration. Now, it was very clear, again, some weeks after, that INEC made a press conference, in which they confirmed that and even getting three staff members sacked.
“Now, it was reported again on the pages of newspapers that he has been issued another voter’s card in another ward. We are concerned about this and I think it is very important that the Senate committee on INEC should investigate and get to the root of this matter. It has been reported that he cannot be prosecuted because of immunity. For the purpose of getting this picture very right, I think the Senate committee on INEC should investigate and get this matter right.”
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, assigned the probe to the Senate committee on judiciary.
“The issue is one that is very important because the whole stability of our democracy depends on the credibility of our electoral process. We must ensure that the processes are always that that we can be proud of, especially now that countries all over are looking to our electoral process. I’m happy the chairman, INEC is sitted here. It’s something you could look into and come back to tell us where the status is.”
It is not clear what the Senate hopes to achieve by the probe as under Nigeria’s federal system, the National Assembly cannot sanction any state governor.