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Fresh confusion after 188,588 constituents signed for Dino’s recall

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Fresh confusion after 188,588 constituents signed for Dino’s recall

Blame game, denials and doubts have already set in in the recall process of Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West). Contrary to claims by those handling the process that everyone in the senatorial district is in support of the move, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it is not part of the contest while other people within the APC family say the number of those who appended their signatures is grossly overblown. Our correspondent looks at the issue.

The move by the people of Kogi West Senatorial District to recall Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) from the Senate recently reached a crescendo with the reported collection of 188,588 signatures, representing about 52.1 per cent of registered voters in the senatorial district.

The recall process of Senator Dino has no doubt elicited a lot of interests from political watchers; especially given the fact that no lawmaker has ever been successfully recalled either from the National Assembly or Houses of Assembly since the inception of democracy in 1999.

Observers of the unfolding political drama are watching keenly to see if the people of Kogi West Senatorial District would indeed break the record of being the first to recall a senator from the National Assembly.

Daily Trust reports that the recall process of Senator Melaye began over two weeks ago across the seven local government areas that make up his senatorial district amidst allegations of involvement of some external forces in the recall saga, including the state government.

The seven local government areas reportedly involved in the recall project are Lokoja, Yagba West, Yagba East, Ijumu, Kabba/Bunu, Mopa-Muro and Kogi.

The Returning Officer for the recall process, Malam Ademu Yusuf, had on Monday, June 19, while announcing the result from the seven local government areas, said the collation was done nearly ‘10 days ago in Kabba’, the headquarters of the senatorial district.

Malam Yusuf noted that of 360,098 total registered voters in all the seven local government areas, 188,588 had signed for the recall of Senator Melaye.

“Constitutionally, the requirement for the recall is 50.1 per cent of the registered voters and we already have 52.1 per cent,” he said.

A chieftain of the APC from Kogi West, Pius Kolawole, while addressing the people from the zone at the APC secretariat in Lokoja, said the recall exercise was not about the APC family only.

He said the move had the backing of the electorate from all political parties that registered and voted during the 2015 election in Kogi West.

But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Kogi West Senatorial District has dissociated itself from having anything to do with the entire exercise, saying the recall process was not having the backing of the party as claimed.

Kogi West PDP Chairman, Barr. Kola Ojo, in a statement, said: “PDP as a party, especially the Kogi West Senatorial District chapter; is not and cannot be part of the recall project.

“Our party has a well organised structure where decisions or resolutions are taken or passed on issues such as this. No such resolution was at anytime passed.

“Our great party should not be railroaded into APC’s ill-motivated, self-serving and self-destruct recall project or process.

“Happily, the two PDP senators from Kogi East and Central senatorial districts are performing well and are not being recalled. APC should, therefore, not drag us into their confusion.”

Leaders of the movement for the recall of Dino had on Tuesday, June 20, moved to the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja to submit their petition.

The group, under the aegis of ‘Concerned Indigenes of Kogi West’, presented six bags of documents containing the signatures of the electorate from the seven council areas in the senatorial district.

Chief Cornelius Olowo, the spokesperson for the group, told journalists that the move to recall Dino was based on his poor performance since his election to the Senate in 2015.

However, those from Senator Dino Melaye’s camp have since faulted the exercise, especially the number of signatures reportedly generated from across the seven local government areas which they claimed included names of people that died long ago.

According to them, in the 2015 senatorial elections, Dino Melaye was announced winner with 41,120 votes, while Smart Adeyemi of the PDP had 38,148 votes.

They said that the Election Petitions Tribunal ordered a recount based on a challenge from Adeyemi and that the recount showed that more than 2000 invalid votes were counted for Dino.

“Despite that, his victory was upheld by the tribunal which said removal of the invalid votes did not substantially alter the final results.

“Today, we are told that they have already harvested more than 188,000 signatures to recall him. The figure is said to represent 52 per cent of voters in his senatorial district.

“Between Dino and Smart, we had 79,268 votes. The other parties had votes in couple of hundreds. There are doubts if all votes cast in the 2015 senatorial election in the district will hit 188,000, which is just 52 per cent,” the group said.

A check by our correspondent at the INEC headquarters in Lokoja indicated that the total number of registered voters in Kogi West Senatorial District prior to the senatorial election in 2015 was 337,572.

However, after the senatorial election, there was a Continuous Voters’ Registration exercise conducted prior to the November 21, 2015 gubernatorial election in the state which increased the number of registered voters in the senatorial district from 337, 572 to 360, 098.

Those in the recall movement are said to have premised their recall process on the figures of registered voters obtained prior the 2015 governorship election in the state.

The provision for the recall of a Senator or Member of the House of Representatives is contained in Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) while process for the recall is contained in ‘INEC Guidelines for the Recall of a Member of the National Assembly or State House of Assembly’ as found in Section 4 of the INEC Act 1998.

Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution says: “A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives may be recalled as such a member if:

(a) 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

In the same vein, the INEC Guidelines provides that on receipt of a petition for the recall of a national state legislator the commission shall act within 90 days.

Within this period the commission is expected to cross-check that the signatories appear on the authenticated Voters’ Register; and if satisfied, conduct a referendum.

Also, the guidelines provide that the commission shall, if satisfied that more than one-half of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency endorsed the petition, issue a public notice stating the days, time and location of referendum to be carried out at the same time throughout the constituency and at such centres as may be designated by the commission.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it had conveyed a letter to Senator Dino Melaye notifying him of receipt of a petition from his constituents seeking his recall.

INEC National Commissioner, Malam Mohammed Haruna, told newsmen in Abuja that the management of INEC considered the petition submitted by some registered voters from Kogi West Senatorial District to start the process of recalling Senator Melaye.

But given the cumbersome processes involved in recalling a senator as contained in INEC’s guidelines vis-a-vis the political intrigues and power play, legal experts and pundits are of the view that the exercise would not be a tea party to sail through.

A lawyer, Barrister Joel Usman, said a senator or any member of the national or state assembly could be recalled by constituents given the provisions of the Constitution, but that the cumbersome processes and requirements often made such exercise a futility in most of the cases.

“A recall is like an election. Before you say you are representing a constituency or senatorial district in the National Assembly, you would have to be first elected to represent the people. After electing you as a senator, which is a vote of confidence, if the representative fails to represent the people well, the people have the right to recall such a senator back and reelect someone else.

“However, with particular reference to Senator Dino Melaye, the first question we need to ask ourselves is whether it is those who elected Dino to represent them at the Senate that are asking him to come back because they have lost confidence in him,” he said.

“This question comes up because I have watched on the television a situation where some of the people he is representing passed vote of confidence on him and the party that sponsored him has also passed a vote of confidence on him. So, is it the people that are really seeking for his recall or there are some external forces?” he said.

Political pundits are also of the views that given the cordial relationship that exists between the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Dino Melaye, there would be a strong opposition to the move to recall Dino.

Dino has been a strong ally and loyal supporter of Saraki, especially during his ordeal at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) before he was recently acquitted and discharged.

Culled from Daily Trust

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LG election: Dogara’s aides express confidence of victory

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LG election: Dogara’s aides express confidence of victory

From Ali Sara, Bauchi

As the people of Bauchi State file out tomorrow to exercise their franchise in the Local Government election, the battle for supremacy between the two major gladiating political parties; the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Congress (APC) is expected to play out.

The immediate past speaker of the House of representatives Honorable Yakubu Dogara who recently joined the APC in his Bogoro local government has vowed to leave no stone unturned having embarked on door to door campaign to ensure victory.
Those vying for the chairmanship seat in the local government are Honorable Bulus Iliya of APC and Honorable Iliya Habila of PDP who are both former Senior Special Assistants to the former Speaker.

Flagging off his campaign Wednesday Honorable Iliya said that he is not afraid of the ruling party because the youth and women are with him.

According to him, he cannot be intimidated by anybody saying he does whatever he sets out to do without fear.
“I don’t fear face because I believe in God and God decide who will rule the LGA. I am not afraid that I am contesting against the ruling party, why because I know the masses are with me and I am sure I will defeat PDP on saturday”.

The APC candidate alleged that the only option for the ruling People’s Democratic Party is to try to manipulate the election because they have the government.
He expressed the believe that with God and the people by his side he will win the election.

“Definitely, if they are going to conduct a credible election we will be victorious come this Saturday”, he confidently boasted.

He called on the electorate to be law abiding, even as he advised them to protect their votes.

On his part Honorable Iliya Habila who is the immediate past Care taker Chairman of Bogoro LGA and the flag bearer of the PDP said he does not need to campaign because within the ten months of his stewardship in office the people can testify to his giant strides in the area of human and infrastructure development.

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Lawan congratulates Ondo Governor on re-election

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Lawan congratulates Ondo Governor on re-election

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has sent a congratulatory message to the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, on his re-election to a second term at Saturday’s election.
Lawan also congratulated the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the victory of its candidate at the election, saying the triumph is well-deserved and heart warming.This was contained in a statement that was issued in Abuja yesterday by his special adviser on media Ola Awoniyi.The president of the senate noted that the election was a referendum on the stewardship of Governor Akeredolu in the last four years and that the Governor has passed the examination in flying colours.
The Senate President commended the people of Ondo State for their peaceful conduct at the poll, which has demonstrated their confidence in their country’s democratic process.
He also thanked the Ondo people for their consistency in identifying with progressive platforms now ably represented by the APC.
“By the outcome of this election, the people of Ondo State have spoken in a loud and unambiguous voice that the APC offers the best platform for the pursuit of their development goals and political aspirations.
“The electoral victory in Ondo State is a re-affirmation of the people’s faith in the APC government and the capacity of Governor Akeredolu to continue the transformation of  the state by consolidating on his achievements and opening new frontiers of development in the Sunshine State,” Lawan says.
The Senate President admonished the Governor not to deviate from the path that has taken him to a fresh mandate from his people. He also urges him to continue to implement APC’s progressive programmes for the benefit of all Ondo people.
Lawan called on other contestants in the election to join hands with the winner in working for the common good of Ondo people.

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No PDP member defected in Ogbadibo -Media Group

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No PDP member defected in Ogbadibo -Media Group

By Our Reporter

A foremost media support group of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State, has described as untrue, the propaganda on the social media that some members of the party defected to the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC).

The group, Benue South PDP Social Media, in a statement on Friday by its Coordinator, Comrade Yemi Itodo, said those selling such propaganda were only doing so for personal gains, urging the public to disregard such “unfounded rumours”.

The John Ngbede led State Working Committee of the PDP had, on Tuesday, inaugurated the executive of the Ogbadibo chapter of the PDP.

Barely 48 hours after the inauguration, some APC members took to the social media, suggesting that some members of the PDP abandoned the party for the broom party.

But Comrade Itodo in the statement, said it was rather the APC members that indicated interests to join the ruling PDP which the chapter Chairman of the party, Hon. Vincent Amuche had hinted the state leadership of PDP and a new date shall be fixed to welcome over 3000 members of opposition parties who are itching to join PDP.

“I can authoritatively tell you that there shall be great tsunami in the camps of the opposition parties in the coming weeks. What has been delaying it was the inability to inaugurate the elected chapter executives, due to COVID-19.

“But now they are being inaugurated and you will be shocked at the caliber of persons that have already concluded arrangements to join PDP”, Itodo said.

He stressed that, “no member of PDP left the party for any other party”, challenging anyone with names and wards of those defectors to publish them.

“The truth is that, some aggrieved persons left their parties after the primaries did not favour them few years ago and joined forces with APGA, SDP, Labour, etc. So, if those persons decided to rejoin their parties, how would you ascribe such defections as from PDP?

“Do you know how many great members of PDP that had since returned to the party in their various wards without making noise”, Itodo posited.

While calling on the leadership of PDP in Ogbadibo and Benue South not to be distracted in the quest to have estranged members reunited into the fold and create enabling environment for those willing to defect to the party; Comrade Itodo warned the opposition parties against heating up the polity at the time all hands must be on deck in the business of governance of Benue State.

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