THE crisis rocking Kogi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) continued on Monday with the collation of 188, 588 signatures of voters from Kogi West senatorial district for the recall of the senator representing the area, Dino Melaye.
The collated signatures represent 52.3 per cent of the total registered voters of 360, 098 recorded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the district.
The signatures and voters’ particulars were collated from the seven local government areas that made up the district which include, Lokoja, Kabba/Bunu, Ijumu, Yagba East, Yagba West Kogi and Mopamoro.
However, this is coming as the people of the three local government areas of Yagba federal constituency dissociated themselves from the recall process, describing it as a comedy.
Giving a breakdown of the people that signed for Melaye’s recall, at the state secretariat of the APC in Lokoja, the state returning officer for the exercise, Adamu Yusuf, said 18, 374 people from Yagba East signed, 9, 186 from Mopamoro, 28, 277 from Kabba/Bunu and 20, 029 from Yagba West.
Others include Kogi 24, 703, Lokoja 63, 736 voters and Ijumu local government areas 24, 283.
He said the people of the senatorial district have satisfied the constitutional provision which stipulates that 50 plus one per cent of voters must sign before a legislator can be recalled.
Also speaking, one of the leaders of the people of the senatorial district, Pius Kolawole, said the event was to spell out the result of the collation of the signatures.
He said the exercise was not being influenced by the state government, saying the governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, is not from the western senatorial district and could not have participated.
He said, “We have told people that the governor should keep off. He has nothing to do with this exercise; he is our governor, he is our leader, but on this struggle, he has to go back. We don’t need anybody to help us. This is the right of the people and we have to exercise it; we are sending Dino back home.”
However, the federal constituency, which consists of Yagba West, Yagba East and Mopamoro Local Government Areas described the exercise as a “comedy.”
Speaking under the aegis of the Coalition of Enlightened Voters, a non-partisan group of electorate in the federal constituency, the people said the area was not part of the exercise and would not support it.
The group made the people’s stand known in a statement titled “Yagba people not part of Senator Dino Melaiye recall farce” signed by Kehinde Abayomi (Yagba East), Temitope Olajide (Yagba West) and Adebayo Michael (Mopamuro), leading 500 other signatories.
The people said that they had in recent days, observed strange developments witnessed by in their domain, supposedly couched as a ‘recall process’, targeted at Melaiye, dissociating the 34 electoral wards in Yagba federal constituency from the recall process.
The statement read, “We note that the comedy falls short of the expectations of the drafters of the relevant law on the recall of a parliamentarian.
“It is not in our character as Yagba people to orchestrate the recall of elected representatives, especially when such a project is not founded on proven allegations of misrepresentation or non-performance.
“Our findings showed that the recall process did not emanate from the electorate, but is a sponsored enterprise based on political malice, initiated by interests outside Kogi West Senatorial District and anchored by state and local government appointees.
“To make things worse, through inducement involving cash and materials, gullible electorate were lured into the submission of their Permanent Voters’ Cards, after being deceived that the collection of the cards was for the purpose of population census. The forum views the foregoing as farcical, ludicrous, absurd and criminal, capable of creating confusion and further divisions among Okun brothers.”
While condemning the process, the people called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) to commence full investigations into the activities of the purveyors of the farcical recall process.
“The electorate, populated by civil servants and pensioners who have not been paid their salaries and pensions for several months, deserve a breather from the poor quality of life and must not be made amenable guinea pigs by political mercenaries.
“Thus, it is our observation that the charade tagged recall was an exercise based on intra-party divisions within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state,” said the group.
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