The attempt to recall Dino Melaye, a senator representing Kogi west senatorial district, has failed. Out of the 189,870 signatories to the petition to recall him from the upper legislative chamber, only 18,742 were verified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday.
The verified signatories represent 5.34 percent of the 351,146 registered voters in Kogi west, thereby not meeting the required criteria.
For the verification exercise to succeed, 50 percent plus one of the signatories to the petition had to be verified. Announcing the result of the verification exercise on Sunday morning, Ukertor Moti, the declaration officer for the exercise, said a referendum — the next step in the recall process — will not be held.
He said: “I Professor Ukertor Gabriel Moti, affirm that the information on verification of signatures to the petition for the recall of senator Dino David Melaye of Kogi west senatorial district has taken place on this day, 28th day of April 2018, and that the verified signatures is 5.34 percent of the total number of registered voters in the constituency and has therefore not satisfied a requirement of the law for a referendum.”
The result, according to Moti, was signed by him and two agents: that of the petitions and one of Melaye’s agents.
HOW LOW TURNOUT MARRED THE VERIFICATION EXERCISE
Out of the seven local government areas in the district, not a single one recorded a big turnout of voters. Hours after the exercise vegans at 8 am, some of the polling units were yet to verify a single signature. In one instance, the INEC staff on the ground were seen sleeping.
In Lokoja, for instance, out of the 66,266 signatories on the recall register — the highest in any of the LGAs, only 4,810 constituents showed up at the polling units, with 3,763 verified.
There were also cases where names of dead persons were seen on the recall petition. We gathered that the some of those who had signed the petition were coerced into doing so. Some constituents who spoke to TheCable during the exercise admitted it was not in their wish to recall the senator from the Senate, despite having signed the recall petition in 2017.
It was gathered even though Yahaya Bello, governor of the state, “worked hard” to see Melaye removed from the upper legislative chamber, the senator also did not rest on his oars.
In some polling units, prominent community leaders loyal to him were said to have bribed suspected thugs “to turn the outcome to the senator’s favour”.
His agents were also mobilised and on the ground in most of the polling units, and were in some cases seen campaigning against voting a ‘yes’ in favour of the recall process.
Melaye is currently in police custody and would later be arraigned in court for alleged gun running. Some arrested crime suspects, according to the police, accused him of supplying them arms.