Barring a last-minute change of mind, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will begin today the recall of Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West).
But supporters of the embattled senator have been pleading with some Christian clerics to intervene in the matter.
A team headed by INEC National Commissioner might oversee the process, which may also involve its Operation Department.
A top INEC official, who spoke in confidence, said: “There is no restraining order from any court. We will go ahead with the first leg. But if along the line, INEC is stopped from going ahead with the exercise, we will stop it.
“Pasting the verification notice is just the first leg of the process, which cannot hurt Melaye in any way.
“Even the process does not amount to removing the senator. By virtue of Section 110, a lawmaker is only opportune to gauge the mood of his or her constituents on his or her performance.
“If a lawmaker is doing well, he or she should feel free to face the electorate. The process is not a setback at all for any lawmaker.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “A team to be coordinated by the National Commissioner for Northcentral will oversee the process. Definitely, the Operation Department will be involved.
“INEC will, however, seek legal opinion immediately it is served the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
“We have subsisting court judgments, including those of the Court of Appeal, indicating that no court can stop a recall, which is like an election.”
Melaye’s counsel Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) flew into Abuja yesterday.
The INEC timetable shows that Melaye’s recall will run from July 10th to August 19th.
The notice, dated July 3, 2017, reads: “In exercise of the powers conferred on the Independent National Electoral Commission (“the Commission”) by Sections 69 and 110 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); Section 116 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and of all the powers enabling it in that behalf, the commission hereby issues this timetable schedule of activities for the recall of the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State.”
The details of the timetable are as follows:
- Notice of Verification(July 10, 2017). To be posted at the constituency (INEC LGA office, Lokoja).
- Last day for submission of application by interested observers (31st July 2017). INEC headquarters.
- Last day for submission of names of verification agents for the member sought to be recalled and the petitioners (August 10, 2017). By a letter addressed and submitted to the Resident Electoral Commission (REC) indicating the Polling Unit verification agents arranged by LGAs as well as collation agents and where they will serve.
- Stakeholders meeting (August 15, 2017). INEC State Office.
- Conduct of Verification (August 19, 2017). To be held in the Polling Units in the constituency.
“The commission shall issue the timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of referendum subject to the outcome of the verification exercise.”