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Yahaya Bello risks disqualification over ‘double registration’

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Natasha Akpoti, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has asked a federal high court in Abuja to disqualify Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi, from the November 16 gubernatorial election, over alleged double registration as a voter.

Akpoti was a governorship candidate but she was disqualified by the electoral commission over the invalid nomination of her running mate.

In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1221/2019 and dated October 10, Akpoti said Bello allegedly committed the offence of double registration on May 23, 2017 at the government house in Lokoja after he had reportedly registered as a voter in Abuja in 2011.

The suit has the All Progressives Congress (APC) (first defendant) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) (second defendant) as defendants.

Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed it on her behalf.

Akpoti formulated three questions for determination by the court which reads; “Whether Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the 1st Defendant (APC) in the forthcoming Kogi governorship poll being organised by the 2nd Defendant (INEC) has by his act of double registration committed a wrongful act capable of disqualifying him as a voter or person to be voted for having violated the provisions of Section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

“Whether Yahaya Bello, candidate of the 1st defendant, is on account of his double registration as a voter, a fit and proper person to be sponsored as a governorship to candidate by the 1st Defendant or allowed by the 2nd Defendant to contest as a governorship candidate the forthcoming Kogi state governorship election.

“Whether Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the 1st defendant in the forthcoming Kogi state governorship election is not liable to be disqualified and/or barred from participating or contesting in and/or voting for any political office for the next 10 years, pursuant to his flagrant violation of the provisions of Section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).”

The plaintiff further asked the court to declare that Bello violated section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) by virtue of his act of double registration as a voter, and a declaration that he is liable to be disqualified and/or barred from contesting, participating and/or voting in the November 16 Kogi governorship poll “on account of his wrongful act of gross violation of Section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), which act of violation robs him of the capacity or vires to contest the forthcoming Kogi State governorship election.”

She also prayed for an order of the court disqualifying and/or barring Bello, or directing INEC to disqualify the APC candidate from the governorship race or for any political office for the next 10 years and an order of mandamus compelling or mandating INEC to investigate the allegation of double registration against Bello and as well prosecute him on completion of his first tenure of office as governor in January, 2020, among others.

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Armed men invade INEC office in Kogi community, chase officials, observers into hiding

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The atmosphere was tense Saturday night at about 10 p.m. in Ugwolawo community, Ofu local government of Kogi State, as thugs who claimed to be from Zamfara State invaded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office.

Collation of results was ongoing when the armed men arrived.

For more than an hour, the armed men shot sporadically into the air and are believed to have engaged a police team that arrived later in a shootout.

When they shot sporadically, they shouted on top of their voice for residents of the area to remain indoors and not come out to continue the collation exercise at the INEC office.

Our reporter, among other observers who were caught up in the fracas, had to run into a house and lie down for over an hour.

Residents and election observers were still in hiding at the time of this report.

Efforts to contact the INEC spokesperson and the police spokesperson in Kogi State were unsuccessful as both did not respond to calls and text messages.

Premium Times earlier reported how thugs allegedly loyal to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) invaded Dekina community in Dekina local government of Kogi State in an attempt to hijack results sheets for the Dekina Ward.

The PDP collation agent for the ward, Obaka James, said the results were already collated and being signed by agents, when gunshot sounds rented the air.

Mr Obaka said; “We know the attackers, they had already operated in the morning and their leader was arrested. But we don’t know how he was released again. Now you can see the problems he is causing. But they don’t know that I have collated result with me.”

He said across eight other local governments in the senatorial districts, collation had been done in most wards.”So, why is ours different? Every time, there must be crisis claiming lives in this place. Is election war?”

Earlier, at about 1:13 a.m. on Saturday, thugs had invaded the registration centre for ward 2 in the local government, which is located at Odu Ofomu community and attacked the electoral officers.

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INEC speaks on violence in Bayelsa, Kogi elections

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The electoral commission, INEC has condemned cases of thuggery in the ongoing gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.

The commission said this in a statement signed by the INEC Commissioner of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, however, despite all the efforts of the commission and the political parties to promote peaceful elections, including several engagements with stakeholders and signing of Peace Accords, there are reports indicating that the process was in several places affected by thuggery and violence.

“The commission unequivocally condemns this. We are still receiving, collating and evaluating these reports as we move into the critical phase of result collation.”

Read INEC’s full statement

INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION

PLOT 436. ZAMBEZI CRESCENT. MAITAMA DISTRICT PM B. 0184 GARKI -ABUJA.

PRESS RELEASE

Voting has now closed in all polling units in the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States. The Commission deployed staff and materials in 4,352 polling units in the two States for the Govemorship elections, Kogi West Senatorial rerun election and Bras 1 State Constituency supplementary election in Bayelsa State. In addition, National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners and other staff were deployed to monitor and supervise the elections. These field officers are regularly submitting real-time reports to the Commission on developments in the field.

The Commission is carefully monitoring the processes. Reports from accredited observers and our officials in the field indicate that most voters who were willing to vote had the opportunity to do so. The Commission delivered materials to its two State ofhces in good time and made adequate preparations for the movement of staff and materials to the various voting locations., Unfortunately, however, despite all the efforts of the Commission and the s pf the political parties to promote peaceful elections, including several enga ents’ with stakeholders and signing of Peace Accords, there are reports indicating that the process was in several places affected by thuggery and violence. which the Commission unequivocally condemns We are still receiving. collating and evaluating these reports as we move into the critical phase of result collation.

Results will be collated at Registration Areas, Local Government Areas and State levels. Staff of the Commission are ready to receive these results and stakeholders are advised to keep to their commitments to ensure peaceful conduct. All electoral officials are reminded of the oath of neutrality they subscribed to.

Finally, the Commission calls on the general public to remain calm, while assuring voters in the two States of the resolve of the Commission to ensure that the elections are concluded fairly and credibly.

Festus Okoye Esq. National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee

November 16th, 2019

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KogiDecides: INEC declares 30 staff missing

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The electoral commission, INEC, has declared 30 of its staff missing.

The ad-hoc staff took part in Saturday’s Kogi State governorship election. They were posted to Olamaboro Local Government Area (LGA) by the commission.

They were declared missing around 1 a.m. on Sunday during the final collation of results in the local government.

The missing INEC staff include Presiding Officers (POs) and Assistant Presiding Officers (APOs) of polling units in Imane ward 1 and 2 of Olamaboro LGA of Kogi State.

Many of the ad-hoc staff used by INEC are corps members of the NYSC.

Just as the whereabouts of the officials are unknown, results from the polling units where they served have also been declared missing.

Announcing the development, the LGA Election Officer, in-charge of collating and announcing the local government’s results, Garba Mahmood, said the INEC ad-hoc staff were reported missing after the observation of some police officers who raised concern that they were last seen shortly after voting ended at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Mr Mahmood said repeated calls to their telephone numbers did not go through.

According to a PTCIJ observer who witnessed the declaration by Mr Mahmood, the official asked party agents whether or not the missing staff should be waited for. Based on their response, he declared them missing.

Mr Mahmood then released the names of the missing persons.

We tried to contact the spokesperson to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, on the status of the missing staff. He did not pick calls or reply a text message sent to him.

The police spokesperson in Kogi, William Aya, could also not be reached on the status of the missing persons.

The Kogi governorship election was characterized by violence, ballot box snatching, intimidation of voters and vote buying in many parts of the state.

Although 24 candidates are contesting the election, it is seen as a context between incumbent governor Yahaya Bello of the APC and Musa Wada of the PDP.

See the list of the missing staff as provided by INEC and the police at the Olamaboro collation centre.
Olamaboro III

Unit 002- (1) Oladipo Victor

(2) Achimi Samson P-08136653704

(3) Umar Faruk Sani-08032745663

(4) Adama Ibrahim

Unit 006- (1) Abayomi Roseline E.

(2) Onuche Abel E

(3) Onojah Emmanuel

(4) Umoru Mariam-

Unit 013- (1) Effiong Akwaowo-Ukpe

(2) Mattew Agada

(3) Samuel Ibrahim

(4) Sado Bello

Imane 1

Unit 006- (1) Nzeofia Kingsley- Presiding Officer (PO)

(2) Hassan Musa- Assistant Presiding Officer 1 (APO 1)

(3) Ekele Michael – Assistant Presiding Officer 2(APO 2)

(4) Ahmed Mattew – Assistant Presiding Officer 3(APO 3 )

Unit 012 -(1) Ovioawho Omonefe B.- Presiding Officer (PO)

(2) Baba Eric -Assistant Presiding Officer 1 (APO 1)

(3) Gabriel Samuel Assistant Presiding Officer 2 (APO 2)

Unit 015-(1) Nwafor Emmanuel- Presiding Officer (PO)

(2) Agada Ochegeugwa- Assistant Presiding Officer 1(APO 1)

(3) Ojih Martina- Assistant Presiding Officer 2(APO 2)

Unit 016 (1) Ezugwu Stanley- Presiding Officer (PO)

(2) Mohammed Abdullahi- Assistant Presiding Officer 1(APO 1)

(3) Mohammed Ibrahim- Assistant Presiding Officer 2(APO 2)

(4) Adejoh Joy- Assistant Presiding Officer 3(APO 3)

Unit 022 (1) Adebisi Comfort – Presiding Officer (PO)

(2) Yusuf Sofiat- Assistant Presiding Officer 1(APO 1)

(3) Onoja Alice- Assistant Presiding Officer 2(APO 2)

(4) Onuche Vincent- Assistant Presiding Officer 3(APO 3) The list of missing adhoc officers during the Kogi

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