kogi news INEC yahaya bello
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state (image courtesy: State House)

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said disqualifying Yahaya Bello from governorship election will be illegal.

This comment came from the INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu, during a quarterly consultative meeting with the media in Abuja, Wednesday.

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The INEC boss was represented by the electoral body’s National Commissioner Festus Okoye.

The Commission had accused Bello of double voter registration, vowing to prosecute him for the act.

However, according to the electoral body, disqualifying Yahaya Bello from the November 16 ballot over double registration will not be possible due to the immunity he has.

INEC noted that the Electoral Act does not provide for disqualification as a penalty for committing such an offence.

It added that two of its officials were dismissed for their alleged roles in the electoral fraud.

On why Bello will still contest the election,  INEC said “Under the Electoral Act, double registration is not a condition to disqualify a candidate.

“In any case, the action we took on the part of the officials that were indicted were administrative based on the terms and conditions of service.

“The action we need to take on non-staff of the commission is to prosecute and we cannot prosecute someone with constitutional immunity. We can only prosecute based on the provision of the Electoral Act.”

No Electronic Results

Also, INEC has said the results of the November 16 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states will not be transmitted electronically.

“While section 52, subsection 2 of the electoral act gives the commission the discretion to make a determination relating to the procedure to adopt in any election,” he said.

“Sections 63,64,65,66,67 and 73 of the same electoral act prescribed the mode of transmission of election results and it is manually.

“So we are going to conform to the provisions of the electoral act as amended and also conform to provisions about regulations and guidelines in relations to the transmission of the election results in the spirit of the law.”

The INEC boss, however, assured that the body will use the smart card readers for the verification and authentication of voters during the elections.