Controversy trails Melaye’s ‘recall process’
The battle of wits between controversial Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi West and those opposed to his kind of politics within the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and lately, the governor of his state, Yahaya Bello, has taken a new dimension with allegations that a recall process of the Senator from the upper chamber has reached an advanced stage.
While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the body saddled with all electoral matters including the recall process, denied having anything to do with the claim by Melaye’s critics that he is on the verge of recall, constituents from three local councils in the senatorial district also claimed to have nothing to do with it.
INEC’s spokesman, Rotimi Oyekanmi told The Guardian yesterday that, ‘we don’t have anything to do with whatever they claim to be doing on Melaye’s recall. As far as INEC is concerned, no process of recall involving Melaye is in the works. We have also not received any correspondence to that effect from any quarters. They are on their own.”
But the Senator’s critics claimed that not less than 188,588 constituents from the district, about 52.23 percent of the voters, have signed the register for Melaye’s recall, more than the 50.1 per cent required in Chapter 5 section 69 (a), (b) of the 1999 Constitution for the process to be successful.
Special Adviser to Bello on Political Matters, Pius Kolawole, while addressing the people in Lokoja on Monday, said as electorate there is a law that empowered them to recall their representative “if they are not satisfied with his activities.”
Kolawole who is also a chieftain of the APC, pointed out that the quest for the recall of Melaye cut across all political parties that registered and voted during the election in Kogi West.
According to him, “It was not only an APC affair. We have collated the wards registration, which was done in Kabba, headquarters of Kogi West.”
Kolawole further emphasised that the Constitution said 50.1 per cent of the registered voters is required to enforce the recalling process and already we have achieved 52.3 percent.
Dismissing the insinuation that the governor has input in Melaye’s predicament, Kolawole said, “Alhaji Yahaya Bello is our governor, our leader and our father, but let me tell you that he has no hand in the recall of Senator Dino Melaye.
“We asked the state government not to intervene in the matter because it is purely an electorate affair from the district. His people have decided to recall him based on cogent reasons.”
A Mallam Ademu Yusuff, who claimed to be the Returning Officer for the recall, announced that signatures of those against the continued representation of Melaye were collated from seven local councils in Kabba, last Saturday.
According to him, “In Yagba East, out of 35,331 registered voters 18,374 signed while in Yagba West out of 35,966 registered voters, 20,029 signed. In Mopa-Amuro out of 18,356 registered voters while 9,186 signed, in Kabba-Bunu out of 60,522 registered voters, 28,277 signed, in Kogi out of 46,810 registered voters 27,703 signed, Lokoja out of 116,296 registered voters 63,736 signed and Ijumu out of 46,819 registered voters 24,283 signed.”
But the Coalition of Enlightened Voters, a non-partisan group of electorates in Yagba Federal Constituency consisting of Yagba West, Yagba East and Mopamuro local governments, have dissociated themselves from the recall process describing it as “a comedy.”
The group, in a statement titled: ‘Yagba people not part of Senator Dino Melaiye’s recall farce’ signed by Kehinde Abayomi (Yagba East), Temitope Olajide (Yagba West) and Adebayo Michael (Mopamuro), leading 500 other signatories, who claimed to represent 85,000 registered voters across 34 electoral wards said that the process was a sham.
They said they have in recent days, observed some strange developments within their domain, supposedly called a ‘recall process’ and targeted at Melaye, adding that they wish to “dissociate Yagba people in the three local government areas of Yagba West, Yagba East and Mopamuro, and the 34 electoral wards in Yagba Federal Constituency, from the farce tagged recall process.”
The statement reads: “We note that the comedy falls short of the expectations of the drafters of the relevant law on the recall of a parliamentarian.
“It is not in our character as Yagba people to orchestrate the recall of elected representatives, especially when such a project is not founded on proven allegations of misrepresentation or non-performance.
“Our findings showed that the recall process did not emanate from the electorate, but is a sponsored enterprise based on political malice, initiated by interests outside Kogi West Senatorial District and anchored by state and local government appointees.”
They also alleged that through inducement involving cash and materials, gullible electorate were lured into the submission of their Permanent Voters’ Cards, after being deceived that the collection of the cards was for the purpose of population census.
“The Forum views the foregoing as farcical, ludicrous, absurd and criminal, capable of creating confusion and further divisions among Okun brothers.”
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