The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed that the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, engaged in double registration during the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in his state, effectively violating the Electoral Act.
In a statement issued Thursday night by the commission’s National Commissioner & Member, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, INEC also said that 21 associations have fulfilled the constitutional requirements for registration as political parties.
With the new development, the total number of registered political parties in Nigeria is now 67.
The commission said following reports of alleged double registration by the governor of Kogi State in the on-going CVR exercise, the commission had set up a panel of investigation into the involvement of staff in the matter.
It explained that the initial report submitted by the panel was referred to the Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee, which made recommendations to the commission.
However, the commission said that it was constrained from acting on Bello’s culpability because he currently enjoys “immunity from prosecution”, but had ordered the dismissal of two of its personnel involved in the matter for gross misconduct.
It also ordered the compulsory retirement of an electoral officer involved in the illegal act for gross misconduct.
The statement read: “Following reports of the alleged double registration by the governor of Kogi State in the on-going Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, the commission set up a panel of investigation into the involvement of staff in the matter.
“The initial report submitted by the panel was referred to the Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee, which made recommendations to the commission.
“While the governor of Kogi State currently enjoys immunity from prosecution, the commission took the following decisions in respect of its own staff: Summary dismissal of two staff for acts of gross misconduct, immediate and compulsory retirement of an electoral officer for acts of gross misconduct.”
The commission also stated that it had registered 21 new associations that had fulfilled the constitutional requirements for registration as political parties.
The names of the new political parties are, All Blending Party (ABP), All Grassroots Alliance (AGA), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Coalition for Change (C4C), Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN), Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP), Legacy Party of Nigeria (LPN), Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA), Modern Democratic Party (MDP), National Interest Party (NIP), National Rescue Mission (NRM), New Progressive Movement (NPM), Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP), People’s Alliance for National Development and Liberty (PANDEL), People’s Trust (PT), Providence People’s Congress (PPC), Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP), Restoration Party of Nigeria (RP), and Sustainable National Party (SNP).
In addition, INEC said that it would soon take a decision on the re-run election for the Anambra Central Senatorial District earlier scheduled for January 13, 2018, but which has now been affected by a ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
In this regard, the commission said it has applied for the Certified True Copy of the judgment to enable it to take a decision on the Senatorial seat.
Following the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which ruled that the senatorial re-run election should go ahead, the commission had slated the Anambra Central Senatorial District poll for January 13.
However, the commission said in the statement that its attention had been drawn to the judgment of the Federal High Court on the issue on December 13 and was waiting for the Certified True Copy of the ruling to enable it to make a decision on the issue.