Melaye recall bid fails as INEC releases verification results
Leke Baiyewu, Gbenga Odogun with agency report
The bid to recall Senator Dino Melaye from the Senate has finally crashed as only 5.34 per cent of the total 188,500 signatories to his recall petition were verified in an exercise held on Saturday.
The result of the verification released on Sunday in Lokoja by the Independent National Electoral Commission showed that 39,285 of the signatories were verified, out of which only 18,762 signatures were genuine.
The genuine signatories represented a dismal 5.34 per cent of the total signatories to the petition, which fell short of 51 per cent or 98, 364 signatures required for the petition to sail through.
It was observed that the verification failed largely due to fictitious and forged signatures and names of dead persons affixed to the recall petition by its promoters.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that some electorate in the Kogi West Senatorial District had on June 24, 2017 submitted a petition to recall Melaye to the headquarters of INEC in Abuja.
One Mr. Cornelius Olowo led the petitioners to submit the recall petition which alleged poor representation as one of the reasons for the move to recall Melaye.
However, INEC’s presiding officer for the verification, Prof. Okente Morthy of the University of Abuja, said that the number of signatures verified fell short of the number required.
He consequently gave the breakdown of the results of the exercise which took place in 552 polling units in seven local government areas in the Kogi West Senatorial District.
According to him, in Kogi Local Government Area with 46,727 registered voters and a total number of 24,459 signatures to the petition, only 2,335 were verified out of 2,566 signatures recorded during verification.
He said at the Kabba/Bunu Local Government with 59,319 registered voters and 27,910 petitioners, only 2,085 signatures were verified to be genuine out of 2,151 that came out for the exercise.
Also at the Ijumu Local Government Area, with 46, 810 registered voters and 24, 389 petitioners, 2,664 were verified out of 2, 811, the returning officer announced.
According to Morthy, others are Yagba East, 35, 329 registered voters, 18, 229 petitioners while 3,506 were verified out of 3, 580 recorded at verification.
At the Mopa-Amuro Local Government Area with 18, 350 and 9, 173, signatures, 710 were verified out of the 729 recorded
However, the Returning Officer, said there was violence in six polling units at Mopa town towards the end of the exercise, forcing INEC to nullify the exercise in the affected wards.
At Yagba West which has 35, 506 registered voters and 19, 444 signatories, only 3,729 petitioners were verified out of the 4, 221 that turned up, the returning officer stated.