The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the allegation of double registration against Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, still stands.
James Apam, resident electoral commissioner (REC) in the state, said this at the INEC office in Lokoja, capital of Kogi, on Thursday.
“The allegation of double registration has not been swept under the carpet; we cannot prosecute Bello now because he enjoys immunity as a sitting governor,” he said.
“He has committed an offence and we shall prosecute him when he is out office.”
He said the recent issuance of a temporary voter’s card to the governor did not mean that the issue of double registration had been swept under the carpet.
On February 26, INEC issued a temporary voter’s card to the governor after applying for the transfer of his permanent card from Abuja to Okene.
Last year, INEC declared the second registration done by Bello at the government house, Lokoja, on May 23, as illegal and contrary to the electoral act.
The electoral body, through one of its federal commissioners, Emmanuel Shoyebi, said the registration, which was done outside the designated registration centre, amounted to a criminal offence.
Shoyebi said Bello did his first registration at Wuse Zone 11 in Abuja, on Janaury 30, 2011.
For their involvement in the double registration saga, a senior official of INEC was compulsorily retired from service while two others were summarily dismissed last month.
Apam, however, explained that a temporary voter’s card was issued to the governor based on legal advice, saying that the governor would surely face the consequences of his crime at the appropriate time.
He said INEC’s legal advisers had advised the electoral body not to deny Bello his right to vote and be voted for since he could not be tried at the moment.
On the ongoing continued voters’ registration exercise, Apam said INEC had registered 176,866 new voters in Kogi between April 2017 and February 2018.
The resident electoral commissioner said that the new registrants comprised of 90,553 male voters and 86,313 female voters.
During the period, he said that the organisation had transferred 7,169 permanent voter’s cards and replaced 9,400 lost or defaced cards.