Kogi Poll: Court Begins Hearing on Suit Challenging Yahaya Bello’s Eligibility

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The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, commenced hearing on the suit challenging whether Gov. Yahaya Bello, is fit to contest in the Nov. 16 Kogi Governorship election.

The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, however, stood down the case for 30 minutes in order to study a motion filed by Gov. Bello, who is seeking to be joined in the suit.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while the Social Democratic Party (SDP)’s Candidate in the Saturday’s poll, Natasha Akpoti, is the plaintiff, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.

At the hearing on Friday, Bello’s lawyer, Mike Enahoro, who filed a motion of a party seeking to be joined in the matter, said he filed the application this morning because they got wind of the case yesterday.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, who acknowledged receipt of the motion this morning, hinted that the motion sought to stop court’s proceeding on the matter.

He, however, argued that the motion be thrown out considering that the election is Saturday.

On his part, Counsel to the APC, Abdulwahab Mohammed, said he would need more time to study the motion.

However, Counsel to INEC, Alhassan Umar, SAN, said he had no objection to the motion.

NAN reports that the suit, dated Oct. 10 and marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1221/2019, filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, on Akpoti’s behalf, sought the court’s determination on the eligibility of Governor Bello in the Saturday election, having allegedly involved in double registration as a voter.

Akpoti said “that by his wilful act of making double registration as a voter, Yahaya Bello, candidate of the 1st defendant is not a fit and proper person to be allowed by the 2nd defendant to vote or be voted for in the forthcoming Kogi state governorship election, having committed act of electoral fraud.

“That Mr. Yahaya Bella. the candidate of the 1st Defendant. was initially registered as a voter sometime in 2011 in Abuja, by the 2nd defendant.

“That Bello. the candidate of the 1st defendant again fraudulently procured from the 2nd defendant. a second registration as a voter on 23rd May,. 2017, at Government House. Lokoja, while his 2011 first registration as a voter in Abuja was still live, extant and subsisting.

“That the said Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the 1st defendant carried out the double registration with the 2nd defendant so as to scuttle due electoral process.

“That such a person is not a fit and proper person to vote for in any election, let alone for the high office of the governor of a state.”

NAN reports that Justice Ekwo had, on Tuesday, delivered judgment, disqualifying the APC Deputy Governorship Candidate in Bayelsa, Sen. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, over false information given in his CF0001 Form submitted to INEC for the Saturday’s poll. (NAN)