The attempt to recall Senator Dino Melaye, the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District failed because the sponsors of the move were under undue influence.
Investigations reveal that the proponents of the recall a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ijumu, Mr. Cornelius Olowo, led the bid to recall the outspoken Senator.
He took purported 189,870 signatories of registered voters from the constituency in ‘Ghana-Must-go’ bags to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking to recall Melaye.
Signatories from Yagba West, according to him were 55.7 percent; Lokoja, 54.8 percent; Kogi, 52.77 percent; Yagba East, 52 percent; Ijumu (Melaye’s local government), 51.8 percent; Mopa/Moro, 50.4 per cent and Kabba/ Bunu, 46.7 percent.
But after the verification of the signatories carried out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday, only 5.34 percent of the electorate turned out in the exercise, that required 51 per cent majority to succeed.
The Returning Officer, Professor Ukertor Gabriel Moti, said of the 189,870 signatories, only 18,742 were verified after Saturday’s exercise.
He said: “I, Professor Ukertor Gabriel Moti, affirm that the information on 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 day of April 2018, and that the verified signatures is 5.34% of the total number of registered voters in the constituency and has therefore not satisfied a requirement of the law for a referendum”.
*Evil will never triumph – Senator Melaye
Reacting to the development, a hospitalised Dino Melaye thanked his constituents for rejecting attempts to recall him, saying “evil will never triumph”.
He spoke from his National Hospital bed where he had been receiving treatment since last Tuesday after he reportedly jumped out of a moving police vehicle taking him to a Federal High Court in Lokoja and sustained injuries.
Senator Melaye said: “Thank you my people. God bless you all. Thank you for the confidence reposed on me. I will not let you down. I will always stand by the truth and the people at all times. God bless Kogi West.
“Every lie has an expiry date. Forces of evil will never triumph over forces of light. God is with us”.
*My political future not tied to Melaye’s recall – Gov. Bello
On his part, Governor Yahaya Bello, whom Melaye had repeatedly accused of sponsorinig his recall and other political attacks in recent months, said on Sunday that his political future would not be undermined by the victory of Senator Melaye.
Gov, Bello’s spokesperson, Petra Onyegbule, said that the governor was not connected to the recall exercise, emphasising that people who think that the outcome will affect the governor’s political future are very myopic.
*Ghosts initiated the process – Kogi APC
Also reacting, Chairman of the APC in Kogi State, Haddy Ametuo, said that “some ghosts “ initiated the recall process.
In a statement he issued in Lokoja on Sunday, he expressed delight that the efforts had come to a premature end through the collective will of the people of the senatorial district.
Said he: “Melaye, the only Senator our party has in Kogi State, won with 94.66 per cent, leaving the remaining 5.34 per cent to the petitioners.
“The messages are very clear: that Senator Melaye is the most popular Senator ever produced by Kogi West”.
He added that the failure signaled what to expect in the 2019 general elections, emphasizing that “no amount of financial inducement and coercion will change the will of the people of Kogi State in future elections”.
He also commended the evident high level of neutrality and transparency displayed by INEC and other stakeholders throughout the exercise.
Mr Ametuo called on the petitioners and Mr Melaye as well as his followers to embrace peace, advising “all members of our party to conduct themselves in a manner that will boost the image of our great party and not things that will further cause disrepute in our party”.
*Gov. Bello wasted N6 Billion on failed Melaye’s recall – PDP
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Kogi State chapter has accused the Governor Bello of wasting over N5 billion public fund on his failed plot to Senator Melaye.
The party, which described the Governor as, “heartless” lamented that the money would have been used pay at least two months salaries of workers who are being owed in the State.
In a statement signed by Achadu Dickson, Director Research and Documentation, the party called for a thorough investigation of the claim by some of the electorates who claimed during the exercise that their signatures were forged.
“Those who were involved in the petition submitted to INEC for the recall of Senator Dino Melaye must be arrested and tried for forgery,” the PDP said.
The party declared that the open rejection of the recall agenda by the people of Kogi State was a clear signal that APC and Governor Yahaya Bello have been rejected in the State.