Edo 2024: Confusion in APC as INEC portal shows Okpebholo not registered to vote

Senator Monday Okpebholo, Edo State APC Governorship candidate

Edo 2024: Confusion in APC as INEC portal shows Okpebholo not registered to vote

By Kingsley Ohens

All attempts to force the Edo State All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate, Sen Monday Okpebholo on Edo people seem to have shattered following a new report from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which portal consistently returned a “Voter Not Found” message for the Senator.

Senator Monday Okpebholo is running for the September Edo 2024 election, but as it appears now, he is yet to register to vote in Edo State.

A report from the 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 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’ efforts to reach Sen. Okpebholo for comment were unsuccessful as he could not be reached by telephone as of the time of filing this report.