Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said it decided to controversially issue Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State a Temporary Voters Card because the Commission did not want to infringe on his fundamental human rights.
Kogi State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Prof. James Akpa, while fielding questions from newsmen at a stakeholders’ meeting in his office, said that the double registration allegation against Governor Bello was still pending for investigation and was far from being over.
He however said the allegation was not strong enough to deny the governor his right to seek for transfer of his voters card, stressing that INEC record for now has not shown that the governor did double registration until a permanent card is issued which will indicate it in the INEC database.
The Kogi state governor had first registered in Wuse, Abuja, in 2014, and then did another registration at the Government House, Lokoja last year, a move that generated a lot of heat leading to the dismissal of two INEC officials and the forced retirement of one other senior staff.
However, INEC last week, issued a Temporary Voter’s Card to the governor at his Okene home town, a situation political watchers see as double-dealing on the part of the electoral regulator.
The INEC boss said the integrity of the Commission could not be questioned on this matter as the Commission was only following due process and has not thrown away the allegation against the governor.
The REC, who expressed worry over the apathy of voters in the state, said that so far 202,289 voters cards are still left uncollected, urging those who are yet to collect their cards to do so immediately.
He said that as at February 27, 176,866 new voters have so far registered, representing 90,553 males and 86,313 females; while 7,169 have sought for transfer of their cards, with 9,400 cards replaced.