INEC says can’t disqualify Yahaya Bello over double registration

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it cannot disqualify Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, for double registration because it is not an offence under the electoral act.

Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, made this known while speaking at a quarterly media meeting with journalists on Wednesday.

Natasha Akpoti, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and former governorship candidate, had asked a federal high court in Abuja to disqualify Bello from the November 16 gubernatorial election over alleged double registration as a voter.

But reacting, Yakubu also said the commission cannot prosecute the governor, who is seeking a second term in office, because he enjoys constitutional immunity.

“On the issue of double registration, there is nothing INEC can do with someone who has constitutional immunity. The governor in question has a guaranteed constitutional immunity,” Yakubu said.

“We disciplined our staff that were involved because it is within our reach to take administrative action against them. Moreover, the electoral act does not permit us to disqualify anyone based on the account of double registration.

“This is our handicap.”

Speaking on the allegation that the commission has received a prepared list of partisan ad-hoc staff from the All Progressives Congress, Yakubu challenged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to provide evidence to substantiate its allegation.

“By and large, all we have to say is to ask those making these allegations to provide to INEC actionable evidence and we will move into action. Give us evidence and INEC will act swiftly,” he said.

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