INEC to begin Melaye’s recall process July 3

BARELY 24 hours after it got a petition to recall Senator Dino Melaye from his Kogi West constituents, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday set July 3 as the commencement date for the recall process of the senator.

INEC has also notified the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District of the petition seeking his recall.

In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, the electoral umpire acknowledged the receipt of the petition submitted on Wednesday by the electorate from Melaye’s district.

The statement signed by Mallam Mohammed Haruna, a National Commissioner and member, Information and Voter Education Committee said: “INEC has set 3rd July date for the commencement of the verification exercise to ascertain the authenticity of the signatories.”

The date for the verification, he said, was arrived at INEC’s weekly meeting where the issue was discussed yesterday.

The statement further reads: “The independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) held its regular weekly meeting today (yesterday) and considered the petition submitted by some registered voters from Kogi West Senatorial District to kick start the proces of recalling Senator Dino Melaye.

“In accordance with the INEC guidelines for the recall of members of the National Assembly, the Commission has formally acknowledged the reciept of the petition to the petitioners’ representatives and has conveyed a letter notifying Senator Melaye of our reciept of the petition.

“The next step is to verify that the petitioners are registered voters in the Kogi West Senatorial District.

“INEC will on the 3rd of July, 2017, issue a public notice stating the day (s), time, location and other details for the verification exercise.”

The electorate at the Kogi West Senatorial District on Wednesday made good their threat to recall Melaye with the submission of signatures of about 188,588 eligible voters demanding the recall of the senator.

The signed documents, it was learnt were contained in six bags alongside other documents. They were submitted to INEC’s headquarters in Abuja.

The signatories represent about 52.3 per cent of the registered voters in the district.

Constitutionally, the signatories of a simple majority of eligible voters are required in an area sign to recall a lawmaker.

The local governments and the percentage of voters who signed the recall petition showed that Yagba West had the highest number of voters asking Melaye to return home from the Senate.

The breakdown, as shown in the petition is Yagba West (55.7 per cent); Lokoja (54.8 per cent); Kogi (52.77 per cent); Yagba East (52 per cent); Melaye’s local government of Ijumu (51.8 per cent); Mopa/Moro (50.4 per cent) and Kabba/Bunu (46.7 per cent).

All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in the zone, who led the petitioners, Chief Cornelius Olowo, said there was no going back in the resolve to recall Melaye.

According to him, the petition had signatories of more than 52 per cent of voters, who were appalled by Melaye’s representation in the area.

Olowo accused the senator of distancing himself from his constituents, rating the lawmaker’s performance below average.

He said: “In the last two years, some senators have been meeting with their people quarterly. They update them on what has been happening and seek their contributions on issues and their aspirations to be presented at the senate.

“For the past two years, Senator Malaye has not organised one town hall meeting anywhere in Kogi West to meet with the people to present his scorecard or stewardship.

“He has been completely disconnected from the people. Since he won his election and the legal battle at the court, he is no longer reachable. “He has no constituency office in Kogi West as we speak, as a way to reach him on matter of interests from the people that elected him.’

Olowo, who said that the petition had signatures of more than half of the registered voters in the senatorial district, expressed confidence that the Melaye recall would sail through.

He said: “We have over 360,000 registered voters in Kogi West and after about one week of collection of signatures, we were able to gather over 188,500 signatures, endorsing the recall of the senator.

“We have submitted the petition at the office of INEC Chairman. It is now left for INEC to go and do confirmation of the signatures before going on the process needed for the recall.’’

Olowo denied insinuations that Governor Yahaya Bello was behind the recall and that people fought over the money disbursed for the exercise.

He said that the genuineness of the demand would be confirmed when INEC would visit the area for confirmation of the signatories, expressing optimism that INEC would do what was required of it over the petition.

No cause for alarm

But the embattled senator has described the process to recall him as laughable.

He said: “I continue to laugh at their efforts which I know is in futility. The whole exercise is a comedy of errors. Nobody should take it seriously the whole thing is shrouded in money politics and cannot stand.”

Also in a Facebook post on Wednesday, Melaye said: “It (recall) cannot succeed. It is a hoax and absolute comedy of errors. I’m laughing at the stupidity of Kogi State Government. Many appointees will go to jail for forgery.

“Even dead people’s names on the recall register. A governor who does not knopw what double registration is may not as well know the procedure for recall. Every lie has an expiry date.

“This comedy of errors will end. No shaking at all. This won’t solve the problem of not paying salaries for over 15 months. No retreat, no surrender. Truth is my only defence.”


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