Wednesday, 4 October 2017

News Release: Senator Dino Melaye Recall; INEC Should Not Act As Interested Party

Amalgamated Network of Civil Society Organization in Nigeria (ANOSCOIN), has been following events since the recall process of Senator Dino Melaye, started. We hereby appeal to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to conduct itself as unbiased umpire in the recall matter. Senator Dino who represents Kogi west senatorial zone has been unwavering in accusing Kogi state government of being responsible for his recall. He is now claiming that the 90 days time frame for referendum on his recall as provided by the Constitution has elapsed and so not duty bound to accept the court ordered service from INEC. Much as ANOSCOIN is not an interested party in the recall fight, it is however, our duty to inform INEC that it should live up to its name, and Constitutional duty of being an impartial umpire. Many Nigerians are beginning to feel uncomfortable with the body language of INEC in the recall of Senator Dino Melaye.

In the first place, the issue of Senator Dino Melaye recall took political dimension from outset. To start with, Dino is claiming that his position that 15 months’ salary arrears, Kogi state government owes workers should be paid was the “sin” he committed. According to him, considering the fact that the governor of the state, Yahaya Bello, received bailouts from federal government, he should pay workers their due. Dino is also insisting that the governor received trenches of Paris club refund; he therefore sees no reason why the government of the state should not settle workers.

On the recall proper, the Senator is of the firm belief that he is offering quality representation to the good people of Kogi west and sees no reason they will demand his recall. He even made damming allegation against the governor on the recall. The governor, he claimed, deceived the people of his senatorial zone, that his administration planned to empower the constituent and so they should forward their names. After compilation of these names, he proceeded to submit the names to INEC for recall proceedings. INEC on its part, behaving like a willing partner in the recall process, proceeded without obeying the rule of the game. Senator Dino, then went to court to enforce his right.

Now that Senator Dino has gone to appeal court in respect of the recall, we urge INEC to be neutral in the matter. We deploy in strong term, the statement credited to the INEC lawyer, Yusuf Uztaz (SAN) to the effect that Senator Dino is dodging from being served with recall petition. Nigerians generally believe that this statement reflected the position of INEC and a good proof that the Commission is has taken side on the recall issue. According to informed Nigerians, what happens when INEC sets deadline for submission of candidates name in an election, according to the law and a party comes for the submission of its candidate’s name after the deadline for such, had elapsed? INEC should be in better position to answer this question. What is wrong in the Commission approaching the court, to test the legality of Senator Dino position that the 90 days constitutional required for the recall referendum had lapsed and so he was not duty bound to accept the letter?

ANOCSOIN believes that it is the right of the people of Kogi west to recall Senator Dino Melaye, if in their judgment; he is not representing them well. However, powerful persons should not hide under recall to destroy our hard earned democracy. The people must be seen to be genuinely interested in recalling Senator Dino, and INEC must not only be neutral here, they must be transparent. 


Emeka Oraetoka {Chancellor}          

Ipalibo Hart {Secretary}   

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