Embattled Kogi State senator, Dino Melaye, at the Senate plenary on Tuesday rallied his fellow lawmakers to save him from being recalled by his constituents.
The appeal comes as the Independent National Electoral Commission unveiled a timetable and modalities for the exercise at his Kogi West Senatorial District.
The senator restated his claim that his recall was masterminded by his state governor, Yahaya Bello
He also alleged that most of the signatures gathered as those of his constituents calling for his recall were forged.
According to him, officials of the state government allegedly gathered the signatures from the voter register of INEC as there was no time signatures for his recall were publicly gathered in his senatorial district.
He said, “As I speak to you, I have over 120 death certificates issued by the National Population Commission and these people’s relations and families have sworn to affidavits and these certificates have been deposited. The names of these dead people appeared on the recall register submitted to INEC.
“Also, 116 of my constituents have sworn to affidavits that their names and signatures appeared in the recall registers and they were not the ones that signed it.
“Also, 86 of my constituents have sworn to affidavits that they were approached that; the government wanted to carry out a fertiliser empowerment programme and requested for their Permanent Voter Cards and thereby deceived them into putting their names in the recall register.”
Mr. Melaye cited Order 14 of the Senate Rule and pleaded with his colleagues to act. The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, assured Mr. Melaye of the upper chamber’s support, proclaiming the recall process “dead on arrival.”
Mr. Ekweremadu said the Constitution made recall a cumbersome process, and, as such, would be difficult for Mr. Melaye’s opponents to succeed.
“The Senate would also verify the legitimacy of the votes before a conclusion is made,” Mr. Ekweremadu said; although the deputy senate president’s claim is not stated in the constitutional requirement for recall.
Signatures for Mr. Melaye’s recall were collected at his constituency in an exercise that began on June 10.Campaigners said 188,588 signatures were submitted to INEC, which is more than 52 per cent of about 260,000 voters in the constituency.
Campaigners said 188,588 signatures were submitted to INEC, which is more than 52 per cent of about 260,000 voters in the constituency.
On June 22, INEC notified Mr. Melaye of the recall process. His lawyers responded with a lawsuit the next day, asking the electoral body to stay all actions relating to the exercise.
INEC, however, said it would proceed with the recall process since there was no court injunction stopping it.