- INEC said it will start the recall process of Senator Melaye today, Saturday, April 28, as scheduled in the timetable
- The electoral body said the senator’s current health situation cannot stall the recall process
- It, however, advised Melaye to send agents to monitor the process if he could not be present
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that Senator Dino Melaye’s current health status will not stall his recall process from the Senate.
The electoral commission said it will commence the recall process on Saturday, April 28, despite the fact that the embattled senator has been in the hospital for the past few days, Premium Times reports.
Recall that thousands of constituents of Dino Melaye’s Kogi West had last year written to INEC to demand the recall of the senator.
READ ALSO: Breaking: FG declares Tuesday public holiday
Although the electoral commission tried to commence the process as required by law, it was stopped by various legal maneuverings of the senator.
The court of appeal, however, eventually gave INEC the power to proceed with the recall. Consequently, INEC released a time table for the process to commence on April 28.
Melaye is in hospital after he allegedly jumped off a police vehicle while being taken to Kogi where the police want to try him for criminal conspiracy and allegedly sponsoring criminals.
Premium Times quoted Oluwole Uzzi, INEC’s director of voter education and publicity, to have said: “The process is continuing according to court order and the constitution. It has nothing to do with him being in prison or anywhere. It’s a process it must continue.”
When asked whether Melaye would be able to monitor the recall process from his hospital bed, Uzzi said: “He can choose to have his agents present if he can’t be present.”
The Kogi state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, James Apam, in a press conference on Wednesday, April 25, in Lokoja also said that the commission had put all necessary modalities in place to ensure a hitch-free exercise.
Melaye’s media aide, Gideon Ayodele, however, decried his principal’s latest ordeal on Friday, April 27, saying the acts of the police were orchestrated to keep the senator preoccupied amidst ongoing efforts to recall him.
Ayodele claimed: “They planned everything. It was a plot to get him distracted and make it difficult for him to rally his base or verify signatures.”
Today, Saturday, April 28, INEC would verify the signatures of the thousands who signed to recall the lawmaker.
The results would be announced on Sunday, April 29. If the signatures are successfully verified to be positive, then INEC will fix a date for a referendum in Kogi West to remove the senator.
Prominent civic groups like Enough is Enough (EIE) Nigeria have said they would monitor the recall process.
The EIE recently launched “the citizen’s guide to the recall process” to educate Nigerians on how to constitutionally recall a lawmaker they are displeased with.
Melaye, a key ally of Senate President Bukola Saraki, has blamed his travails on the Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello.
Both men are members of Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, but are political adversaries. Governor Bello has, however, denied being responsible for the lawmaker’s travails.
Should Melaye be successfully recalled, his would be the first successful recall of a federal lawmaker in Nigeria’s recent democratic experience.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) directed its members in Kogi state to vote against the recall of Senator Dino Melaye during the verification of signatures of petitioners.
In a statement in Lokoja on Friday, the party said that it was not in support of the recall of Melaye from the beginning.
INEC said that the verification would hold from 8am to 2pm in 552 of 560 polling units in the seven local governments that make up Kogi West senatorial district.
Dino Melaye and 2019 Criminal Conspiracy | Legit.ng TV