BEVERLY HILLS, July 04, (THEWILL) – The Senate has faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the commission’s decision to go ahead with the recall of Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) as demanded by his constituents.
The resolution followed a point of order raised against the move by Senator Melaye who told his colleagues that Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, was behind the move to eject him from the upper legislative chamber.
THEWILL recalls that INEC has already fixed July 10 and August 19 for the verification of signatures on the recall register, saying the outcome of the verification would determine whether the commission would proceed to conduct a referendum.
“The score of both valid and invalid votes in the election that brought me into the Senate in 2015 was 118,000 but my governor and his appointees in four days claimed they got signatures of over 188,000,” Melaye said.
“They got INEC data base of registered voters and copied in one writing into a recall register and forged all the signatures. As I speak to you, over 120 dead certificates issued by the National Population Commission and these people’s relations and families have sworn to affidavits and these certificates have been deposited.
“The names of all these dead people appeared on the recall register submitted to INEC. 116 of my constituents have sworn to affidavits that their names and signatures appeared in the recall registers and that they were not the ones that signed it.
“86 of my constituents have sworn to an affidavit that they were approached and that the government wants to carry out a fertilizer empowerment programme and requested for their PVCs and thereby deceived them into putting their names in the recall register.”
Describing the recall move as effort in futility, the Senate said the various stages passed so far in the exercise as facilitated by INEC were not in line with laid down constitutional procedures and guidelines declaring that it amounts to a waste of time by all the parties involved.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu cited Sections 68, 69 and other relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution to fault the move. He wondered why INEC is not following the laid down procedure in carrying out the exercise.
“I am wondering why we are dissipating energy on this matter and wasting precious legislative time on a matter we should not,” Ekweremadu said.
“What is happening in Kogi in respect of Senator Dino Melaye, as far as this constitution is concerned, is an exercise in futility. They are just wasting precious time because the constitution is clear on what should happen.
“It is possible that the Attorney- General of Kogi State has not advised them properly. If he had done that, I am sure they would have applied their time to more meaningful ventures in Kogi State.
“When they are done with that they go back to Section 68, which states that the President of the Senate receives from the chairman of INEC the recall of the member. They would also present evidence satisfactory to the House or the Senate.
“So they need to come back here and convince each and every one of us that they have done the correct thing. Unless they do that, they cannot even give effect to it. So why are we wasting our time. Let us move on and allow them to waste their time.”
In his contribution, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said, “As they say, 10 years is no joke in leadership, the Deputy Senate President has explained the processes. So let the process speak for itself.
“I really don’t know why a lot of efforts are being wasted that should have gone into more important things. Eventually, it must come back here for us to decide whether it is satisfactory or not.”