Akpoti prays court to disqualify Bello from Kogi guber race

Natasha Akpoti

INEC presents voters’ register to parties
A governorship aspirant in Kogi State, Natasha Akpoti, has prayed a Federal High Court in Abuja to disqualify Governor Yahaya Bello as a candidate in the November 16 governorship election.

Akpoti, in the suit filed yesterday, anchored her prayer on Bello’s alleged double registration as a voter.

The plaintiff’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who filed the suit on her behalf, contended that Bello’s alleged double registration grossly violated Section 24(e) of the Electoral Act.

Apart from disqualification, the plaintiff also asked the court to bar Bello, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 16 poll, from holding public office for 10 years.

She also prayed for another order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to “thoroughly investigate the act of double registration” and “to immediately prosecute him upon the expiration of his first tenure as governor of Kogi State in January 2020.”

Only the APC and INEC were made defendants in the suit.

Meanwhile, INEC has presented the register of voters to 23 political parties ahead of the Kogi poll.

INEC commissioner in charge of Kogi, Kwara and Nasarawa states, Alhaji Mohammed Haruna, presented the register to the parties at a brief ceremony in Lokoja yesterday.

While urging the parties to ensure issue-based campaigns and refrain from violence and hate speech, Haruna told them to cooperate with INEC to ensure credible, conclusive and acceptable election.

The Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Prof. James Apam, reminded the parties of the need to submit the list of their agents on October 17.

He also advised them against fake news, violence and hate speech during the campaigns.

According to Apam, the register of voters has been optimised to guarantee credible governorship election.

Nineteen of the 23 political parties fielding candidates for the election were present at the event.

The Guardian gathered that 1,646,350 were registered as voters in the state as at August 31, 2019, but only 1,485,828 collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).

Out of the figure, female voters are 820,687 while males are 825,663.

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