By Nathaniel Gana
“I, Professor Ukertor Gabriel Moti hereby affirm that the 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 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 the requirements of the law for referendum.”
With these words, the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC’s) Returning Officer, Prof. Moti declared the outcome of the Kogi West Senatorial District Recall Exercise, held on 29th April in Lokoja.
According to Moti, the total number of registered voters in the Senatorial District, comprising seven local government areas covered by the recall exercise stood at 351, 146. He said 189,870 individuals signed the petition to recall Senator Dino Melaye, but those who showed up for the verification exercise were only 20, 868.
Out of this figure, 18, 742 petitioners were eventually verified, which represents only 5.34 percent of the total number of registered voters in the constituency.
The journey to the recall exercise began on 21st June, 2017, when some registered voters from the Kogi West Senatorial District approached the Commission and submitted a petition to initiate the process of recalling the Senator representing their district.
After formally acknowledging receipt of the petition and relying on Sections 69 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Section 116 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the Commission announced the timetable and schedule of activities for the recall of the Senator on 3rd July, 2017.
However, several judicial interventions followed, culminating in the 16th March judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, clearing all legal hurdles for the Commission to commence the recall process.
The verification process took place on Saturday 28 April, 2018 which, in the end, failed to produce the constitutional threshold of 51 percent of the registered voters required for the recall exercise to proceed to the final stage of referendum.
But the exercise was generally peaceful. All polling units opened on time. National Commissioner, Mallam Mohammed Haruna was on hand to supervise the exercise and was assisted by Resident Electoral Commissioners from Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Enugu and Benue States.
An Election Observer Group, the Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG) has commended the Commission for the transparent, peaceful and satisfactory conduct of the recall process.
According to a statement by the group’s Director of Mobilisation, Faith Nwadishi, the Commission should be commended for ensuring that the will of the people prevailed. The ISDGM noted that although, the recall failed, “its outcome clearly reflects the will of the members of the constituency.”
Another Twitter user, The Great Oracle among others, also commended the Commission for ensuring that the process was open and transparent.
RESULTS OF THE RECALL EXERCISE BY LGAS
|Local Government Area
|Total number of registered voters||46,727|
|Total number of signatures on the petitions||24,459|
|Total number of signatures at verification||2,566|
|Total number of signatures verified||2, 335|
|Total number of registered voters||59,319|
|Total number of signatures on the petitions||27, 910|
|Total number of signatures at verification||2,151|
|Total number of signatures verified||2,085|
|Total number of registered voters||46, 810|
|Total number of signatures on the petitions||24, 389|
|Total number of signatures at verification||2, 811|
|Total number of signatures verified||2, 664|
|Total number of registered voters||35, 329|
|Total number of signatures on the petitions||18, 229|
|Total number of signatures at verification||3, 580|
|Total number of signatures verified||3, 506|
|Total number of registered voters||18, 350|
|Total number of signatures on the petitions||9, 173|
|Total number of signatures at verification||729|
|Total number of signatures verified||710|
|YAGBA WEST LGA|
|Total number of registered voters||35, 506|
|Total number of signatures on the petitions||19, 444|
|Total number of signatures at verification||4, 221|
|Total number of signatures verified||3, 729|
|Total number of registered voters||109, 105|
|Total number of signatures on the petitions||66, 266|
|Total number of signatures at verification||4, 810|
|Total number of signatures verified||3, 763|