The Independent National Electoral Commission, on Monday, pasted the notice of verification to begin the recall process of the lawmaker representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye.
The notice of verification was posted on the walls of the local government area office of INEC in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, for the electorate to see the progress of the recall initiated by Melaye’s constituents.
In the notice, dated July 10, 2017 and signed by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the commission fixed August 19 for the verification.
“In accordance with Section 69 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), notice is hereby given that the verification for the recall of the member representing Kogi West Senatorial District shall hold on August 19, 2017,” the notice read.
The electoral umpire specified that the verification to recall the senator would hold between 8am and 2pm on the said date in the senatorial district.
A top INEC official, who spoke with The PUNCH on condition of anonymity on Monday, said the notice did not mean Melaye’s recall was concluded.
“Pasting the verification notice is just the first leg of the process which cannot hurt Melaye in any way. Even the process does not amount to removing the senator,” the source added.
Meanwhile, INEC said on Monday that it had been served with an order of a Federal High Court, Abuja, which asked the commission and Melaye to maintain status quo in the suit the lawmaker filed to challenge his recall process.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that the commission received the order on Monday.
Oyekanmi said the Legal Services Department of the commission was studying the order, adding that it would form the basis of INEC’s position on the matter.
He stated that the electoral umpire had not taken a decision on whether to halt the ongoing recall process of the senator or not as the commission had just received the order on Monday.
Oyekanmi added, “I was told this morning that the court papers have arrived at the Legal Services Department; so, the response would be forwarded to the commission for determination.
“The legal department is studying it and it will make a recommendation on it.
“The exercise cannot be halted; the exercise continues until the commission says so.”