Moves by constituents to recall their lawmaker, Dino Melaye, has again been stalled.
Efforts to recall the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye has hit a new brick wall following the resolve of the Independent National Electoral Commission not to proceed with the recall process until it gets the verdict of an appeal filed by the embattled lawmaker.
A statement by Solomon Soyebi, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee on Tuesday night revealed that the refusal of the senator to accept service of the petition has complicated the matter.
The commission explained that pursuant to a high court judgment, all attempts to serve the senator the petition for his recall had proved abortive.
It narrated its frustration at serving the senator at his office on the resumption day of the National Assembly and at his residence on six occasions.
Recall that a court bailiff and some of the Commission’s officials had made futile attempts to serve the embattled senator last week at the National Assembly Complex.
Accordingly, Soyebi said this made the electoral body cancel the Notice of Verification earlier scheduled for Tuesday.
“As a result of Senator Dino Melaye’s refusal to accept service of the petition, the Commission has not been able to proceed with the process as earlier scheduled, as service has become a condition precedent to continuing with the exercise. It has therefore decided that in line with its usual practice and in deference to the rule of law, it will await the outcome of the decision of the Appeal filed by the Senator.
“The Commission takes this opportunity to reiterate its determination to faithfully discharge all its constitutional and statutory duties and responsibilities. In doing so, It is not only guided by the constitutional and statutory provisions, but also by the lnterpretations given by the Courts.
“INEC does not have any interest whatsoever in the outcome of the Kogi West petition for recall. Its interest is limited to ensuring all electoral activities are undertaken in line with due process and without fear or favour. The Commission owes this duty to all Nigerians and is prepared to proceed in earnest once all legal issues are resolved,” the statement reads in part.
Last month, Melaye who chairs the Senate on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), had said the moves by the Commission to recall him, on account of petitions from some registered voters in his senatorial district, had become null and void and of no effect.
The lawmaker argued that the recall process had expired on September 23, 2017, adding that the process commenced on June 23.
He hinged his position on Section 69(b) of the 1999 Constitution, which provides a 90-day window within which a lawmaker could be recalled by his/her constituents.
According to the provision: “A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives may be recalled as such a member if: 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 which signatures are duly verified by INEC.
“The Petition is thereafter, in a referendum conducted by INEC within 90 days of the date of receipt of the petition, approved by a simple majority of the voters of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency”.