The Senate gave its backing to embattled Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), over the ongoing move by his constituents to recall him from the National Assembly.
The lawmakers on Tuesday stated that they will determine whether Melaye could be recalled by his constituents or not, describing the ongoing process as a waste of time and public funds.
While criticising the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its speedy handling of the process, the Senate alleged that INEC is making extra-budgetary spendings on Melaye’s recall. Melaye, at the plenary on Tuesday, raised a point of order to accuse the Governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, of sponsoring his recall.
He also alleged that most of the signatures gathered as those of his constituents calling for his recall were forged. According to him, officials of the state government allegedly gathered the signatures from the voters’ register of INEC as there was no time signatures for his recall were publicly gathered in his senatorial district.
As I speak to you, I have over 120 death 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 these dead people appeared on the recall register submitted to INEC.
Also, 116 of my constituents have sworn to affidavits that their names and signatures appeared in the recall registers and they were not the ones that signed it.
Also, 86 of my constituents have sworn to affidavits that they were approached that; the government wanted to carry out a fertiliser empowerment programme and requested for their Permanent Voter Cards and thereby deceived them into putting their names in the recall register.
Melaye cited Order 14 of the Senate Rule and pleaded with his colleagues to act. The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, assured Melaye of the upper chamber’s support, proclaiming the recall process “dead on arrival.” Ekweremadu said the Constitution made recall a cumbersome process, and, as such, would be difficult for Melaye’s opponents to succeed.
The Senate would also verify the legitimacy of the votes before a conclusion is made,” Ekweremadu said; although the deputy senate president’s claim is not stated in the constitutional requirement for recall.
Ekweremadu said the National Assembly amended Section 69 of the Constitution in 2010 on the process of recalling a federal lawmaker.
The number of those who are seeking for recall of Senator Melaye from the Senate are supposed to line up somewhere in Kogi State with him and his lawyers, and each person will verify their signature.
When they are done with that, they will go back to Section 68 which states that the President of the Senate receives from the Chairman of INEC (a notice on) the recall of the member.
They would also present evidence satisfactory to the House or the Senate. “So, they (constituents) need to come back here and convince everyone 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.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenary, expressed his agreement with Ekweremadu.
There is no need for further comments. The Deputy Senate President has said it; 10 years is no joke in leadership. We have seen clearly the processes.
Let the process speak for itself. I don’t know why funds are being wasted, which should have gone on more important things. INEC is also at the middle of a test. Eventually, it must come back here for us to decide whether it is satisfactory or not.
After the plenary, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, told journalists that the Senate would determine Melaye’s fate eventually.
Signatures for Melaye’s recall were collected in his constituency in an exercise that began on June 10. Campaigners said 188,588 signatures were submitted to INEC, which is more than 52 per cent of about 260,000 voters in the constituency.topics from