Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission says it has formally notified Senator Dino Melaye of the demand by the people of his constituency to recall him from the Senate.
It said that the decision to inform Melaye was taken at its meeting held in Abuja on Thursday, where the petition submitted by voters in the Kogi-West senatorial district was considered.
The commission also said that it would issue a notice to the petitioners and Melaye on July 3, on when it would begin the verification of the signatures of those who signed the notice.
A National Commissioner of INEC, Madam Mohammed Haruna, disclosed the commission’s decision in a statement issued in Abuja.
Aggrieved voters from Melaye’s constituency were at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday where they presented their petition on their demand for the recall of the senator.
Haruna said, “INEC has held its regular weekly meeting today and considered the petition submitted by registered voters from the Kogi-West senatorial district to kick-start the process of recalling Senator Dino Melaye.
“In accordance with INEC’s guidelines for the recall of members of the National Assembly, the commission has finally acknowledged the receipt of the petition to the petitioners’ representatives and has conveyed a letter notifying Senator Dino Melaye of our receipt of the petition.
“The next step is to verify that the petitioners are registered voters in the Kogi-West senatorial district.
“INEC will on July 3, 2017 issue a public notice stating dates, time, location and other details for the verification of the exercise.”
Kogi-West, which Melaye represents in the Senate, has seven local government areas.
Signatures and petitions from each of the local government area were packaged in seven bags, which were tagged according to the names of the local governments, and submitted to the commission.
The local government areas and the percentage of the voters who signed the recall petition showed that Yagba-West had the highest number of voters asking Melaye to return home from the Senate.
The breakdown, as shown in the petition is: Yagba-West, 55.7 per cent; Lokoja, 54.8 per cent; Kogi, 52.77 per cent; Yagba-East, 52 per cent; Ijumu (Melaye’s local government), 51.8 per cent; Mopa/Moro, 50.4 per cent and Kabba/Bunu, 46.7 per cent.
A prominent member of the All Progressives Congress in Ijumu, Mr Cornelius Olowo, who led the delegation, had insisted that the constituents were not satisfied with the quality of Melaye’s representation.
He had said, “We want Senator Melaye back because of poor representation, he is also not accessible to us, he is unreachable and has no constituency projects.
“Apart from the fact that he has never called any town hall meeting, there has been a major gap between the senator and the people he claims to represent.”