Less than 48 hours after the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, declared that Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi may be prosecuted at the end of his tenure, his name has disappeared from the voters’ register.
INEC said it was concerned that Bello’s name has now been delisted, but that it had a photograph showing how he was registered at the Government House, Lokoja.
INEC said the name was not officially removed and had vowed to find out how the name disappeared and whether its staff were bribed or threatened to remove it after it raised alarm of double registration.
Confirming the INEC Chairman’s position that the Governor was under probe, a top official at the body said, the “mystery surrounding the alleged double registration by the governor”, was being looked into.
“Heads may roll in the Kogi State office of INEC for the alleged untoward activities of some of our staff”, the source told The Nation.
INEC stated that the governor first registered in Abuja in January 2011 and reregistered on May 23, 2017 at the Government House, Lokoja.
At the weekend, INEC lamented that it could no longer trace any Yahaya Bello on its CVR list for May 23, 2017, raising suspicion that the list of voters registered on May 23 might have been tampered with by some staff of the commission.
The source said “The INEC management has raised an investigative team to look at the controversy over the allegation of double registration by the governor.
“It is however curious that the investigation has assumed a new dimension. The commission has the photograph of the registration of the governor but his name is not on the list of the CVR for that day in question. The name has disappeared.”
“Certainly, it is now our words against the governor. This is a mystery we need to unravel. The governor said our team might have registered his ghost. The onus is on us to present the evidence, including our register,” the source said, adding:
“But we got information before we issued an official statement on the governor’s double registration.
“INEC is suspecting foul play by some of its staff. We hope they are not dragging the commission into the dirty politics of Kogi State again.
“If we are able to establish any shady deals, those concerned will be sanctioned. They may be dismissed from service.”
INEC further listed issues the investigation team is probing.
These are: Was there any CVR on May 23 at the Government House, Lokoja? Who was registered? How did the INEC team come about the photograph of the registration showing the governor? How was the name of the registrant (Yahaya Bello) de-listed from the INEC register? and Who were those behind the de-listing?