Today at the APC State Secretariat in Lokoja, the returning officer for the recall of Senator Dino Melaye, Adamu Yusuf, announced that out of 360,098 of the total registered voters of the 7 western senatorial districts in Kogi state, 188, 588, signed the recall register.
This constitutes 52.3% of the voters in senatorial district.
He said that “Going by the above figures, it is important to let Nigerians know that we have met the Constitutional requirements of 51.1%. Dino has failed to represent Kogi West so we are calling him back home,”
For clarification the Nigerian Constitution says-
69. A member of the Senate or of the House Representatives may be recalled as such a member if -
(a) there is presented to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission a petition in that behalf signed by more than one-half of the persons registered to vote in that member's constituency alleging their loss of confidence in that member; and
(b) the petition is thereafter, in a referendum conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission within ninety days of the date of receipt of the petition, approved by a simple majority of the votes of the persons registered to vote in that member's constituency.
However, there are still some ways to go before Dino Melaye is recalled.
1. INEC still has to officially notify the senator of the petition and the consequent expression of lack of confidence of his constituents in him.
2. INEC will still verify each and every signature in the recall petition after the petition been signed, and arranged according to polling units, wards, Local Government Areas, and constituency. The signatures must be those of individuals who appear in the voters register.
3. INEC still has to issue a public notice or announcement stating the date, time and location of the verification of signatures to the petition.
4 INEC will conduct a referendum if more than one-half of the signatories are verified.
This is the b part of section 69.
The referendum is to be conducted within 90 days of receipt of the petition if the minimum requirements for a referendum are met. The referendum will be a simple yes or no vote on whether the Senator should be recalled, and will be decided by simple majority of the votes of the persons registered to vote in that Senator’s constituency.
5 If majority of the voters in the constituency vote ‘yes’ the Chairman of the INEC will send a Certificate of Recall to the Senate President to effect the recall.
6 The Senate President will show affected senator the way out of the Senate.
There are still some thorny issues to iron out, most especially the verification of signatures. Also another issue is the interpretation of the “one-half” clause- is it ½ 0r 1½.
However, this has undoubtedly opened the eyes of many voting constituents in Nigeria.
It has shown what democracy is really about- the people.
It has shown those in the corridors of power that they are not demi-gods and that they can still answer to the people, when the people demand answers.
In Sen. Melayes’s case we still await how things will turn