By Boluwaji Obahopo & Omeiza Ajayi
LOKOJA— The scandal that trailed Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State’s double registration last year has finally been resolved in favour of the governor as Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has issued him a new voter’s card.
The governor had last Friday, picked his new Temporary Voters Card at INEC office in his country home, Okene, headquarters of Okene Local Government Area of the state.
Bello, who first registered in Abuja before becoming governor, had tried unsuccessfully to transfer his registration to Kogi and was, a few months ago, accused by INEC to have registered within the precinct of the Kogi State Government House, Lokoja.
The development forced INEC to cancel both registrations, and relieve its staff involved of their jobs.
But last Friday’s collection/registration by the governor at INEC office, Okene, seems to have changed the narrative.
Responding to inquiry on the governor’s new registration, Director-General, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Kingsley Fanwo, said it was not a new registration but that the governor went to pick his temporary voters card transferred to INEC’s Okene Office.
“Yes, his card has been transferred to his polling unit at Okene. He has been on this for long but thank God INEC has finally done it. The governor is a law-abiding leader who will continue to follow due processes,” Fanwo said.
The commission also corroborated the governor’s spokesperson, saying the governor had now fulfilled all procedures and had no case to answer.
Kogi HOD, Voter Education and Publicity of INEC, Mr. Ahmed Biambo who responded on behalf of the electoral commission in a statement, yesterday, said: “Following enquiries, INEC, Kogi State, wishes to inform the public that the governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, formally applied for transfer on January 26, 2018, through the Electoral Officer, INEC Okene LGA.
“Having satisfied that he met the requirements for such transfer in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and Guidelines, the Resident Electoral Commission of Kogi State approved the transfer of his registration from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to Okene LGA of Kogi State.”
PDP, Faleke react
But the development has generated reactions in the political sphere of the state, as some questioned INEC’s final decision on the case.
In its reaction, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, asked INEC to come to equity with clean hands and explain the mystery surrounding the collection of PVC by Governor Yahaya Bello.
Director, Research and Documentation of the PDP in the state, Achadu Dickson, said the governor was culpable, having been registered twice, once in Abuja and another in Kogi State Government House.
The party wondered why INEC backtracked over its decision on the cancellation of both registrations.
He said: “INEC must come clear with what is happening and the circumstances surrounding the governor’s double registration, most especially that the governor has been dragged to court, having allegedly registered twice as even alleged by INEC.”
Also reacting, deputy governorship candidate of APC in Kogi 2016 guber election, James Faleke, said INEC must also recall its sacked workers since the scandalous deed was carried out together with the governor.