For the lawmaker representing Kogi West, Senator Dino Melaye, it seems when it rains it pours. This was as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Wednesday announced that it is set to commence the recall process of Melaye as senator representing Kogi west on Saturday.
This followed a recent ruling by the Court of Appeal which gave INEC the go-ahead to carry out the exercise. The verification of signatures for the recall has now been scheduled to hold on April 28.
The embattled senator was on Wednesday reported to be at the intensive care unit of the National Hospital, Abuja, after he jumped out of a moving police van in an attempt to resist being taken to Kogi court for trial. Melaye has been accused of supplying guns to some murder suspects, an allegation he denied.
But speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Lokoja on Wednesday, INEC federal commissioner, Mohammed Haruna, said the verification of signatures of those seeking to recall the senator will commence on Saturday.
He said the verification exercise would hold in 552 polling units in seven local governments under Kogi west senatorial district, adding that the card reading machines will be used to authenticate the voter cards of those that signed the recall petition.
Haruna made it clear that “only those who signed the petition are expected to turn up at their polling units for verification.”
He called on the people of Kogi West senatorial district to exercise their constitutional right peacefully on the slated date, adding that the electoral umpire would conduct the exercise without fear or favour.
Also speaking, INEC resident electoral commissioner for Kogi state, James Apam, stated that local observers would be allowed to monitor the exercise.
The REC said that no party agents would be allowed access to any of the polling units, and that the result of the exercise will be announced on April 29.
His words, “While INEC in line with the provisions of the constitution and the Electoral Act was in the process of initiating the recall, the Senator challenged it in Court up to the Appeal Court which halted the process by an injunction pending the determination of the case.
“But recently the Court of Appeal gave INEC the go ahead to carry out the exercise and that is exactly what we are about to carry out”.
The REC pointed out that on the appointed date which is April 28, the verification is expected to commence by 8am and end at 2pm in the 552 polling units out of 560 in the district, adding that there was no petition in eight units.
He said further, “We have concluded all arrangements in line with our schedule of activities and are set for the exercise.
“The ad-hoc staff have been trained at the state and local government levels and materials procured and sent to the registration area centres ready for movement to the polling units on the day of verification.”
“Only those who signed the petition are expected to turn up at their polling units for verification and based on the constitution, the petition would only be said to have been verified if at least 50 per cent plus one of the signatures or thumb prints of the registered voters in the constituency are verified. And to carry out the exercise the petitioners must appear personally at their polling units,” Apam said.