By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, yesterday in Abuja described as falsehood, an allegation by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that he engaged in scandalous double registration, saying his ghost might have been the one which registered twice.
Bello, who made this remark while answering questions from journalists in the State House after participating in Juma’at prayers in Aso Rock mosque, claimed that he was not in the country on May 23, 2017 when the alleged double registration took place.
Earlier, while defending his principal, his media aide, Kingsley Fanwo, had said his principal was forced to register again in Kogi State following the failure of INEC to transfer his earlier registration in Abuja to the state.
INEC Commissioner, Mr. Solomon Soyebi, had disclosed that Bello was caught in double registration scandal on May 23. According to Soyebi, Bello had first registered in Wuse, Zone 4, Abuja on January 30, 2011 only to illegally register the second time on May 23, 2017 in his office in Lokoja.Â
But Bello insisted that he was in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates on May 23, when INEC claimed he made the double registration. According to him, he had only registered on May 19 and not May 23, before embarking on his Dubai trip.
“I travelled on 19th, May to Dubai for a brief break and I saw the press release that I did double registration on 23rd and I was taken aback. Probably, it is my ghost that has done the double registration.Â
“I think INEC has earned itself a very high reputation and I think and I am very confident that the leadership of INEC will not allow some elements in INEC to drag the name of the Commission into the mud. Surely, that’s falsehood. I did not do double registration for permanent voter card,” he claimed.
On recent attacks against him by Senator Dino Melaye who represents Kogi West in the Senate, Bello said he would never dignify the controversial senator with a response because he was too focused to be distracted.
Claiming that he had been busy repositioning the state for infrastructure development, Bello also dismissed calls by leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state for his impeachment.
He said those making the calls were not notable members of APC in Kogi State as he proceeded to reel out the activities of his government in the state since he assumed office in the past 15 months adding that APC in the state was not factionalised.
“APC in Kogi State is one and indivisible – no faction, no division and by the grace of God, we are all strong and united.Â
“Honestly speaking, when a human being is talking, then I will respond. Surely, I don’t see anything coming out of that and I don’t think I have to waste my time in responding to whatever side distraction. Honestly speaking, I’m too focused to be distracted.
“Kogi State has suffered for over 25 years before I came onboard and the good people of Kogi state are really appreciative of the efforts we are putting forward to make sure that Kogi state is well developed. So, any side distraction is not something I should pay attention to because the people are with me.
“When you talk of prominent Kogi people, I don’t think there is any prominent person in Kogi State that would say anything like that (impeachment). So far, so good, there are many achievements from security to infrastructural development, to civil service reforms, and pension reform scheme, to job creation. You see, there is a whole lot of multilateral agencies, ambassadors that are all visiting Kogi State.Â
“It is owing to the development and the efforts we’ve put forward to put Kogi State on the development map. That is why you see them coming over. Go to Kogi state website you will see what we have done in 15 months that we have been in the office,” he said.