The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has recorded a breakthrough in its ongoing investigation of the allegation of double registration levelled against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
The electoral commission has succeeded in retrieving a back-up Direct Data Capture (DDC) machine on what transpired between the governor and INEC team.The machine will also assist in determining how the governor’s name disappeared from the voter register.
INEC is expected to engage experts in the next few days to download the data in the back-up machine, which is being protected under heavy security.
The commission had alleged that the governor first registered in Abuja in January 2011 and subsequently registered for the second time on Tuesday May 23, 2017 in Government House, Lokoja.
But the governor said his ghost might have been registered by INEC because he was away to Dubai at the time he was accused of double registration.
While INEC was probing the governor’s double registration status, his name disappeared from the Continuous Voters Register.
A reliable source, who spoke in confidence said: “INEC management has made progress in investigating alleged double voter’s registration by the governor of Kogi State. The commission has succeeded in retrieving a back-up machine which will reveal the truth.
“Those who tampered with the DDC used to register the governor don’t know that every machine has a back-up.
“We will engage experts to analyse the CVR conducted on May 23 in Lokoja and how the governor’s name purportedly got missing.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “We have also retrieved the photograph of the governor, the statement of the Chief Press Secretary to the governor on the second registration by the governor.
“We stand by the fact that the governor was allegedly involved in double registration. But we want to be scientific with our findings before we release the details to the public.
“Our state office in Kogi State has filed a report which requires further investigation, including the review of the back-up machine.
“There is nothing to hide; we will say the truth no matter whose ox is gored. And the law will eventually take its course.”
Section 117 Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) recommends sanctions for voters who have registered more than once, being in unlawful possession of a voter card, selling or buying of voter card.
The punishment for such an electoral offence is “a fine not exceeding N100,000 or imprisonment for one year or both.”
INEC speaking through its national commissioner, INEC National Commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Prince Solomon Soyebi, first raised the alarm over the alleged double registration by the governor.
He said: “It has come to the attention of INEC that Governor 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.
“We wish to make it clear that no INEC staff was authorised by the commission to re-register him or any citizen or to do so outside our designated CVR centres.”
Speaking after praying at the Presidential Villa mosque on a Friday, Governor Yahaya Bello said: “I travelled on 19th to Dubai for a brief break and I saw the press release and I was taken aback, that I did double registration on 23rd.
“Probably it is my ghost that has done the double registration.”
Credit: The Nation