Double registration: Natasha asks court to disqualify Bello

Natasha Akpoti:

Natasha Akpoti has filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja praying for the disqualification of Governor Yahaya Bello as a candidate in the forthcoming November 16 governorship election in the state.

Akpoti, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/122/2019 filed on Monday, anchored her prayer on Bello’s alleged double registration as a voter.

Apart from disqualification, the plaintiff also asked the court to bar Bello, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the forthcoming 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 in office as governor of Kogi State in January 2020”.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who filed the suit on her behalf contended that Bello’s act of double registration as a voter grossly violated section 24(e) of the Electoral Act.

Ozekhome argued as part of the grounds of the suit that “By his willful act of making double registration”, Bello as APC’s candidate, “is not a fit and proper person to be allowed by the 2nd defendant, INEC, to vote or be voted for in the forthcoming Kogi State governorship election, having committed acts of electoral fraud”.

The senior lawyer also maintained that Bello underwent double voter registration as a voter in gross violation of the electoral law, and that INEC had sacked two of its employees who allegedly “aided and abetted Yahaya Bello in his act of double registration as a voter”.

In the affidavit she deposed to in support of the suit, Akpoti, said she contested the March 23, 2019, Kogi Central senatorial election but lost.

She noted that she had emerged as the Social Democratic Party’s candidate in the forthcoming governorship election in the state but was unjustifiably disqualified by INEC.