The recall of a Senator from the upper chamber of the Nigerian legislature by his constituency has failed. Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West Senatorial District in central Nigeria could not be recalled or withdrawn from the chamber because the percentage required to effect that proved unobtainable in the electoral process conclude an hour or two ago. The poll in seven local government areas that make up his constituency showed only 5. 34 % of the voters who wanted him recalled whereas 50% is the requirement. 50% is nearly 100, 000 out of the 189, 000 persons that signed the petition for his recall.
Professor Ukertori Moti of the University of Abuja who served as the Returning Officer for the exercise announced the result to the few journalists and NGO observers early Sunday morning, (1. 40 am local time). The results for six polling stations where there was electoral disorder was cancelled. There are 552 polling units in all.
What would excite democracy watchers in the exercise is the transparency that characterised the exercise, meaning kudos to Nigeria’s electoral management body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC). According to Malam Abdul Miliki of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, (PLAC) who comprehensively observed the entire process, everyone whose name was on the register of the petitioners must be personally present, must have his PVC, the name on which must correspond with the name on the register. “INEC came out clean”, said the civil society activist.
One of the reasons for the failure of the recall project, Intervention has been told, is that many of the names on the list might have been written without the consent of the real persons involved. A second plausible reason is the fact that the Senator has started gathering some sympathy as a result of scuffle with the police when they went to arrest him a few days ago in connection with alleged arming of thugs. Thirdly, local political considerations also played out. There is the belief that powerful interests were behind the recall politics rather than the real voters.
Although Senator Dino Melaye is also of the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC), he belongs to the side of the Senate President who has been at loggerhead with contending interests in the party. As such, the attempt to recall him is understood to be more complicated than meets the eye.