By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
A staunch member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Kogi State, Natasha Hadiza Akpoti, has approached an Abuja Federal High Court, seeking the disqualification of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Governor Yahaya Bello, from the state governorship race over alleged double registration as a voter.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has slated the Kogi State governorship election for Saturday, November 16, 2019.
Akpoti was before now the SDP governorship candidate for the same election before her eventual disqualification from the race over the invalid nomination of her running mate.
According to the Originating Summons dated Monday, October 14, 2019, filed before the court, APC and INEC are jointly listed as defendants in the suit filed by Akpoti as the plaintiff through her counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
The plaintiff formulated three questions for determination by the court thus: whether Yahaya Bello, thr 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 disqualifiying 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 th forthcoming Kogi State governorship election.
“Whether Yahaya Bello, th 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 next 10 years, pursuant to his flagrant violation of the provisions of Section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended),” Akpoti asked.
Consequently, the Plaintiff is seeking five reliefs from the court which include a declaration by the court that Governor Bello has 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.”
Also, 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; an order of madanmus 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 other.
The APC candidate and the incumbent governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, was said to have allegedly committed the offence of double registration on May 23, 2017 at the Government House in Lokoja, having initially and validly registered as a voter in 2011 in Abuja to which INEC consequently sacked two of its staff for aiding and abetting the illegal act.