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Election Eligibility: Suit Against Bello To Be Heard Nov 21


The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has, on Friday, adjourned till November 21, continued hearing of the suit challenging the eligibility of governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi to contest the Saturday, November 16 governorship election in the state.

The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo said the decision is to allow the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, to be joined in the matter.

Justice Ekwo assured that all preliminary objections in the matter would be taken at the adjourned date.

He, however, warned that any party absent on the day would be deemed to have adopted them.

Governor Bello had, through his counsel, Mike Enahoro, filed a motion to be joined in the matter as a respondent.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who acknowledged receipt of the motion for joinder filed by the governor when the matter came up yesterday said the motion was intended to stop the proceedings of the court in the matter.

Ozekhome asked the court to throw out the motion considering the fact that the election, which his client is challenging Bello’s eligibility is slated for Saturday.

On his part, Counsel to the All Progressive Congress (APC), Abdulwahab Mohammed, said he would need more time to study the motion.

Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Alhassan Umar (SAN), on his part, said he had no objection to the motion.

In the suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/122/2019, Natashs Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party [SDP] prayed the court to disqualify Yahaya Bello over alleged double registration as a voter and to also bar him from holding public office for ten years.

Akpoti had alleged that Bello first registered as a voter in Abuja in 2011 and procured the second voter registration in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital in May 2017.

She also prayed for an order compelling INEC to “thoroughly investigate the act of double registration” and “to immediately prosecute Bello upon the expiration of his first tenure in office as governor of Kogi State in January 2020”.

Ozekhome, who filed the suit on behalf of the plaintiff contended that Bello’s act of double registration as a voter was a violation of section 24(e) of the Electoral Act.

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