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Melaye’s recall: Kogi state’s political drama starring living, dead actors

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Melaye’s recall: Kogi state’s political drama starring living, dead actors

By John Akubo

The journey to the recall of Senator Dino Melaye has been fraught with judicial potholes. Currently, the matter awaits ruling by the Supreme Court. The hands pulling the strings, however, have refused to give up.
Recently, the process received fresh thrust, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the timetable for the defining exercise.

Some constituents from Kogi West Senatorial District, where the senator hails from, had, last year, begun the move, registering their names and submitting photocopies of their Permanent Voter Cards.

Over 188,000 people from the district reportedly gave their signatures in June 2017, indicating readiness to recall Melaye, whom they accused of poor representation.

But the senator raised issues with the recall, alleging dead people, including a deceased gubernatorial aspirant, signed the petition.

He complained that the All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant, Prince Rotimi Obadofin, and hundreds of other dead voters were on the list.

Read More: Court issues bench warrant against second accused in Melaye’s assassination attempt

He contended that Obadofin died April 7, 2016 and has since been buried, and that the figures were forged and fraudulently passed on to INEC.

He said: “Our investigation revealed that even the dead signed the recall across the seven local government areas of the senatorial district.

Let me also sound authoritatively, here, that in Lokoja Local Government Area (LGA), several others whose names and signatures appeared on the list for the failed exercise were identified and known to us, such as the late Abdullahi Abubakar; his late immediate younger sister, Halima Lawi Abubakar; and Ibrahim Adams of Unit Code 021, Adankolo Ring Road in Ward ‘A’, Lokoja LGA.”

He added that the late Mallam Salihu Black of Gegu-Beki town in Kogi LGA, who until his death was a biology teacher at Government Secondary School, Koton-Karfe, was also a signatory.

Melaye’s legislative aid, Abubakar Sadiq, alleged that the recall was hatched at Government House, Lokoja, and was aimed at paying back the senator for challenging the administration over non-payment of workers’ salaries and pensions.

“This is the sin committed by the senator. He has been the only voice crying out for the suffering workers in the state,” Sadiq said.

On the register, he noted: “They claimed to have got over 188,000 signatures of the electorate in Kogi West senatorial district, whereas the total votes cast in the last senatorial election in 2015 was merely about 111,000.

That is for all the candidates that participated in the election, valid and rejected votes inclusive. For God’s sake, where could they have got such outrageous figures, when people were not seen at the polling units visited during the purported exercise.”

Sadiq pointed out that if INEC embarks on verification, it would find that the list was doctored allegedly under the watch of Chief of Staff to the Governor, Edward Onoja.

Still on the late aspirant, the campaign manager to the deceased, Yahaya Adesayo Ismail, said he was perplexed when he saw his former boss’ name among the list of persons seeking Melaye’s recall.

He questioned why this should be, when the people of Kogi West failed to support the aspirant’s political agenda when he was alive.

The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Yahaya Bello, Petra Onyegbule Akinti, had earlier said the allegation didn’t deserve any response. According to her, “The fact about the people that signed the register is with INEC.

It has the responsibility of verifying the signatures. So, it has nothing to do with the CPS or even the Kogi State government.

There is nothing for the distinguished senator to be worried about, as INEC is set for the public verification of signatures, and the date is around the corner. There is no point burning their energies all over the place.”

INEC had kick-started the recall but was compelled to stop, due to legal actions instituted by Melaye. The Court of Appeal, however, threw out the senator’s suit.

Its judgment delivered March 16, 2018 in Abuja gave INEC leave to continue with the process. And on March 24, 2018, INEC consequently released the timetable and schedule of activities for the exercise.

In a statement INEC said: “Pursuant to the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, delivered on March 16, 2018, the Independent National Electoral

Commission, hereby, issues this timetable and schedule of activities for the recall of the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State.

“The process will begin March 27, 2018 with the posting of the notice of verification at the Commission’s local government area office in Lokoja, Kogi State, and end with the declaration of the outcome of the verification on April 29, 2018.”

The commission stressed that it was exercising its powers, as conferred on it by Sections 69 and 110 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and Section 116 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

Also, according to the statement, April 4 was set as the last day for the submission of application by interested observers. April 20 was the last day for the submission of the names of verification agents.

A stakeholders’ meeting holds April 25 at INEC’s state office and conduct of verification on April 28 at all polling units in the constituency.

Some constituents, however, have threatened to make trouble, alleging their names were put on the list without their consent. Others expressed satisfaction with the process. Others, yet, urged caution, saying the state government and not Kogi West people was behind the matter.

One Suleiman Abdulmalik, who has been at the forefront of the recall, was optimistic. He said: “We are going to succeed. Dino can only run but he cannot run forever. The law must surely catch up with him. We are getting close.

He is using the judiciary to frustrate the process, but we will surely get there. Even within the judiciary, we are winning. He has gone to the Supreme Court. And once we defeat him there, the recall would be a done deal.”

He added: “We are sure we will secure the over 50 per cent signatures required. It would be verifiable. And at the end of the day, we will succeed. The recall is our project.

We cannot continue to support a senator that will be deriding his own party, the president and the governor of his own state. His acts are always un-parliamentary, and the recall is to enable us correct that. There will be no going back.”

On the other hand, a constituent from Kabba-Bunu LGA, Segun Modeyin, said the recall is not in the best interest of the people of Kogi West.

According to him, “It will be an exercise in futility because Dino Melaye is someone who is well accepted among the people in his senatorial district. He has been representing us well. In recent times, he has done a lot in impacting lives through the execution of various constituency projects.

“In fact, he has touched virtually every community within his senatorial district. Our rural people have enjoyed electricity, water and road construction projects from the same Dino.

Our people have resolved that at whichever party Dino Melaye chooses to contest for a second term, they would vote for him because of their confidence in him.

I believe the recall is purely a political vendetta from the Kogi State government. I believe the APC, as a party, needs to wade into the face-off between the senator and the governor. The senator is performing and I don’t believe any recall would work against him.”

He added: “I doubt if they (INEC) can authenticate those signatures. We are surprised that INEC, which is supposed to be an unbiased umpire, is the one pushing for the recall of our senator. It is unfortunate that those who are supposed to protect the rule of law are the ones doing otherwise.

Our call on INEC is to ensure that each of the signatures gathered is confirmed to be truly those of the constituents. If not, we will make an issue out of it.”

INEC’s Head of Voters Education and Publicity, Mr. Biambo Bagudu, stressed that the Commission would follow the timetable of the recall to the letter, except there is another judgment. He disclosed that members of the National Youth Service Corps Scheme (NYSC), staff of federal tertiary institutions, and the Commission’s personnel would oversee the exercise, which he promised would be credible.

On the suit filed by Melaye at the Supreme Court, Bagudu said the Commission would halt the process, if a judgment demands it. But a veteran journalist turned politician based in Lokoja, Comrade Tims Ejiga, cautioned that since Melaye has already approached the apex court, the status quo ante should be maintained, as continuing the recall would be unfair.

Culled from the Guardian

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Politics

Ekiti East Constituency 1 bye-election to hold on 20th March, 2021, says INEC

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Ekiti East Constituency 1 bye-election to hold on 20th March, 2021, says INEC

By Janet Samuel

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Saturday 20th March 2021 for the conduct of a bye-election to fill the vacant seat for the Ekiti East Constituency 1 of Ekiti State.
The National Commissioner and Chairman
Information and Voter Education Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye made this known in a press statement on Wednesday in Abuja
He said the vacancy arose as a result of the death of Hon. Adegbuyi Oluwajuwa Amos, member representing Ekiti East Constituency 1 in the House of Assembly and the subsequent declaration of vacancy for the Constituency by the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye.

He said met and deliberated on the conduct of Bye-election into the vacant seat of Ekiti East Constituency 1 of Ekiti State.

According to him, the official notification for the election will be published Wednesday 24th February 2021.

He said the Political Parties shall conduct their primaries between 26th February and 3rd March 2021 while the last day for submission of list of nominated candidates is at 6pm on the 8th March 2021.

“The Access Code for the nomination forms shall be available for collection from 26th February 2021 at the Commission’s headquarters.”

Okoye enjoined all political parties intending to field candidates to pay close attention to the Timetable and Schedule of Activities and to conduct transparent and valid party primaries that meet the provisions of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended).

The Commissioner urged Political parties to note that under section 31(8) of the Electoral Act, a political party which presents to the Commission the name of a candidate who does not meet the qualifications stipulated in the Constitution and the Electoral Act shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a maximum fine of N500,000.00.

The detailed Timetable and Schedule of activities he said has been uploaded on the Commission’s website and social media platforms.

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Group condemns incitive utterances, pledges support to gov Sule

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Group condemns incitive utterances, pledges support to gov Sule

From Daniel Abel, Lafia

Political group referred to as Lafia Progressive Forum has condemned utterances its described as inciting and unguarded made by one Mohammadu Barde against governor Abdullahi Sule’s appointment.

Dahiru Musa, the chairman of the group at a press briefing on Wednesday in Lafia said the utterances and claim of Mr. Bards is disturbing and unfortunate and does not represent the voice of the people of Lafia local government.

“The group stated that the entire content of the utterances are figment of his wild imagination. It is meant to gain cheap popularity, we therefore distant ourselves from everything contained in the utterances.

“The good people of Lafia local government highly appreciate the generosity of governor Sule led administration, fair distribution of appointment and developmental projects across all local governments”, Dahiru said.

The group called on people in the local government to ignore any video on social media inciting the public against governor Abdullahi Sule who has been fair to all the local governments in terms of appointments and developments.

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Sule tasks public office holders on transparency, accountability

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Sule tasks public office holders on transparency, accountability

From Daniel Abogonye, Lafia

Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule, has tasked both political and public office holders in the state, on the need to be honest, transparent and accountable.

Sule stated this while declaring open a 2-week workshop on procurement and management of supplies for political and public office holders in the state, at the Government House, on Monday.

The Governor specifically tasked political and public office holders in the state, on the need to inculcate the spirit of the procurement law passed in the state, in the conduct of government business.

According to governor Sule, political and public office holders need to be transparent and accountable, because corruption no longer pays, with corrupt government officials forced to hide their ill-gotten wealth perpetually.

Speaking on the event, the Governor said the workshop is intended to instil in the minds of political and public office holders, virtues of due process and trustworthiness in accordance with the principles and procedures established in the public procurement rules.

“This is to ensure that proper mechanisms are put in place in the award of contracts to qualified contractors and in delivering services,” he stated.

While describing the theme of the workshop as apt, timely and well-conceived, Engineer Sule said this was coming at a time when his administration is committed to prudent management of resources towards bringing development to the people.

The theme of the 2-week workshop is: “Public Procurement as a panacea for good governance in Nasarawa State.”

The Governor pointed out that steps have been taken to ensure that contracts are awarded and executed on timely basis, with proper costing, in provision of goods, services and execution of works.

Mr. Sule used the opportunity of the event, to reiterate the resolve of his administration to impart the culture of discipline, transparency and due process in the conduct of government affairs, which informed the setting up of the Bureau for Public Procurement.

The governor urged the participants at the workshop to participate actively with a view to tapping from the wealth of experience of the resource persons.

Earlier in a keynote address, Director-General, Nasarawa State Bureau for Public Procurement, Dr. Dominic Bako, traced the widespread of poverty in developing countries like Nigeria, to the absence of good governance.

Citing the World Bank, Dr. Bako said good governance can be measured by four distinct attributes namely, accountability, effectiveness, rule of law and low levels of corruption, stressing that the Engineer Sule administration must be seen to be accountable, transparent, as well as deliberately promoting a culture of due diligence and respect for the rule of law.

“It must make sure that public funds meant to serve the greater majority of our people, is not diverted into private pockets or looted and sent into foreign banks overseas,” the DG stated.

The 2-week training workshop, organized in collaboration with the Charterhouse Consulting Limited, has participants drawn from public offices, including heads of state tertiary institutions, commissions, boards and parastatals.

The training session, which is organized in batches, has in attendance state executive council, special advisers, and chairmen of commissions, auditors general for state and local government, as well as the Vice Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi.

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