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INEC Verification Portal Shows APC Governorship Candidate In Edo, Okpebholo Not Registered To Vote

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September Edo 2024 election, Senator Monday Okpebholo, appears not to have registered to vote in Edo State.

A check by SaharaReporters on the website of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), revealed the development, despite the politician submitting a voter card purportedly obtained from the Esan West Local Government Area.

Okpebholo, who was inaugurated into the Nigeria’s 10th National Assembly, on June 13, 2023, as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, representing Edo Central Senatorial District, was declared the winner of the APC governorship primary election on February 23, 2024.

According to the details submitted by Sen. Okpebholo in his Form EC9 affidavit, which was sworn to on March 5, 2024 at the Federal High Court in Abuja and subsequently published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), his full name is Monday Okpebholo, and he was born on August 29th, 1970 in Irrua, Esan Central Local Government.

However, upon repeated verification on INEC’s official voter verification portal (https://cvr.inecnigeria.org/vvs), it was found that Sen. Okpebholo’s name is not registered to vote in any of the 18 local governments in Edo State, including his local government of Esan Central. 

The portal consistently returned a “Voter Not Found” message for the Senator.

Meanwhile, the development has raised serious questions about the authenticity of the voter’s card that Sen. Okpebholo submitted to INEC as part of his Form EC9 documentation. 

While being registered to vote is not a constitutional requirement to run for Governorship or Senatorial seats, the presentation of a potentially forged card exposes the candidate to criminal litigation and post-election legal challenges.

A source in INEC told SaharaReporters that the APC candidate may have submitted a fake card, adding that “what he submitted to INEC was deliberately blurred.” 

However, the source said that “this is not INEC headache. It is left for the opposition parties who are contestants in the coming election to take it up.”

With the termination of the 2024 INEC Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) process, there is no opportunity for the Senator or his political party to legally remedy this situation before the September 21, 2024 Governorship election.

SaharaReporters’ effort to reach Sen. Okpebholo for comment were unsuccessful as he could not be reached on telephone as of the time of filing this report.

Sahara Reporters

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