REACTIONS on Friday trailed the indictment of the Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over his alleged double voter registration.
Prominent among those who expressed their views on the matter are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last election in the state, James Faleke and the senator representing Kogi West senatorial district, Dino Melaye.
The PDP said it had been justified and vindicated that the governor acted illegally and should be made to face the wrath of the law.
“Double registration is an offence under our laws and we are happy that INEC is doing the needful now. Bello doesn’t know the law and unfortunately he has surrounded himself with amateurs. If not, ordinarily, his Attorney General should have been able to advise him that double registration is an offence.
“Definitely, he cannot be in contention in the next election. INEC declared that for immunity, they should have gone ahead with his prosecution. Don’t worry, we are going ahead dusting our books and our legal department is up to the task and when we get to the bridge, we will tell him where he belongs.
“Normally, he wasn’t an elected governor; nobody voted for him actually. His coming was an aberration and we have always hammered on that and now that people are saying he should step aside, he should obey the clarion call of the people of Kogi State,” the opposition party said.
Also speaking, James Faleke, who commended INEC for standing firm, asked the governor to resign with immediate effect.
He said: “It is unfortunate that the offender himself is not remorseful and has succeeded in making three INEC officials to lose their jobs. It will serve as a deterrent to others. I sympathise with the families of the INEC staff just as I sympathise with all Kogites for suffering the senseless rulership of Yahaya Bello.
“This is a shame to our state. It is a shame to Kogi. In the history of Nigeria, this is the first time the illegality by a governor is affecting an ordinary citizen. My advice to Bello is for him to resign honourably.”
Dino Melaye, in his reaction through his Special Assistant on Media, Gideon Ayodele, also said the governor ought to have resigned based on the verdict of INEC.
“Were it to be a civilised society where leaders respect themselves and the people and where there is value, I think the best thing is for him to resign honourably but you know our society is such that they will always believe they can have their ways by maintaining the immunity believing that after the expiration of his tenure in office he will find a way of escaping the wrath of the law.
“Our leaders lack integrity. After the illegality has been confirmed and sack of three INEC officials involved, he has succeeded in putting the affected INEC officials back in to the labour market. There is nothing better than for him to honourably resign,” the senator said.
The Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, Idris Miliki, said: “It is most disappointing that this is the first governor in the history of Nigeria to have perpetrated such illegality and criminality.
“The key issue here is the issue that this has vindicated the earlier case at the Supreme Court. For somebody to be contesting for the exalted office of the governor to register in Abuja and he does not know that all he required was to transfer his voters’ card. The Electoral Act states clearly how you can transfer voter card to the local government where you intend to vote. For him to rather mobilise to Government House as being alleged to conduct double registration as a sitting governor is condemnable. It is regrettable and an embarrassment to the people of Kogi State. We call on him to apologise to us”.