Published On: Thu, Jul 13th, 2017

Politics, intrigues of Melaye’s recall campaign

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Kogi West senator, Dino Melaye, and Governor of the State, Yahaya Bello, have locked horns over the recall exercise against the former, in this analysis, our National Assembly correspondents, Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Christiana Ekpa look at the intrigues and the interest of the stakeholders in the Kogi politics.

There seems to be no end in sight regarding the political tussle between the Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello, and the Senator representing Kogi West in the Senate, Dino Melaye, over the recall campaigning being mid-wifed against the later.
It is no longer hidden that the governor of Kogi state, apparently with a tacit support from the federal government and national All Progressives Congress (APC), is working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recall Senator Melaye.
INEC, early last month, had announced that it has received the recall letter from the constituents of Dino Melaye over non performance as lawmaker, saying that those who signed the letter numbered above eight hundred thousand.
Recall that for over a year and six months now, both the senator and the Governor have been at each other’s neck; while the governor is bent on recalling Melaye from the senate, the embattled senator, in alliance with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, have continued to embark on missions aimed at discrediting the Kogi governor.
In this circumstance, political observers have continued to ponder over the interest of Saraki, APC and federal government in the whole political quagmire in Kogi state.
Already, the Bello led government in Kogi state has suddenly become unpopular among the people of the state, due to the prolonged personnel audit in which the governor claimed he was weeding out ghost workers from the state civil service.
This audit had resulted in long period of indebtedness by the state government to the state civil servants as salaries have been owed workers for about eighteen months, with both the state chapter of the APC, in alliance with the embattled senator, describing the governor as a killer, who lives on cheap drugs.
The governor has also fired back at his opponents saying they were the ones who masterminds ghost workers in the state civil service, even as he vowed to rout them out through the audit exercise. He equally described Senator Melaye as a serial blackmailer who wants to take over the control of his government.

How Dino, Bello parted ways

The frosty relationship between senator Melaye and Governor Bello started after 27th January when the Governor refused to keep his promise to include Dino’s nominees in his cabinet.
The worst of Bello’s sins against Melaye was his refusal to pick his local Government nominees for caretaker’s Chairmanship, which aggrieved the senator to start using the APC state Executive against the Governor.
However, Gov. Bello fought back by disowning the Party Executive and denying the party nominees also.
The Lawmaker in his fight against the Governor for not keeping to his promise, took another turn when he decided to move the party Executive to Abuja for a press briefing where he condemned the Governor for not working or carrying the state chapter of the party along.
Bello had vowed to boycott the state Executive of APC for the National in his dealing with political maters, when the party in the state in alliance with Dino raised their voice against the maltreatment of the State Exco and Kogi civil servant.
All effort by APC National Executive, which constituted a committee head by John Momoh, could not yield any result as the battle between the Governor and the Lawmaker developed into blackmailing of each other.
The tussle got hit up when Dino addressed press conference with Kogi State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the 27th January in Abuja, where he gave Yahaya Bello four weeks ultimatum to reconsider the staff audit in the state that sacked thousand of civil servant.
He also lamented that in spite of the N30 billion bailout given to the state government, workers in the state ought not to be subjected to any form of hardship.
According to him, “The bail out fund is primarily meant for those purpose, while part of the 11.2 billion Naira Paris Club refund was also aimed at ameliorating the suffering of our people” but Governor refused to use it for the purpose it was meant for.
“Any attempt for Yahaya Bello to think otherwise in this regard, after 4 weeks from today will be met with stiff resistance and peaceful revolution across the 21 local government councils.
“We also call on the state government to re-order the priorities of state in line with the needs and aspirations of our people as the solar street light, the Revenue House and SDG Office being celebrated for 1 year in office for example, have no tangible value and cannot put food on the table of our people.
“About 80% of workers salaries and entitlements have not been paid since January 2016.
“All the public hospitals were filled to maximum capacity in the last eight months, until some few days ago when the Nigeria Medical Association officially called for their closure as a result of nonpayment of salaries and lack of needed drugs.
“Illnesses, diseases and death are on the highest rise in the State; our people are now dying in dozens of avoidable deaths every day,” he said.
He further said that most public educational institutions were under lock and key, as teachers from primary to tertiary institutions had not been paid their salaries and entitlements since the last one year. He also faulted the manner in which governor Bello was conducting the exercise in the state.
The Governor had in turn released vital information about the senator school background to Sahara reporters to publish, a sponsored certificate scandal which nearly consumed the lawmaker.
Political observers have argued that abinitio, the emergence of Bello as Governor of the state was not made possible by the Kogi people or APC in the state, but by the political forces in the Buhari led government in Abuja and the APC national leadership.
This, according to pundits was to ensure that the APC retains its dominance in the state in 2019 presidential election. Recall that after the presidential elections in 2015, Buhari defeated Jonathan in Kogi state, and this is most probably why APC national leadership does not want to entertain any let in having a firm grip on Kogi state. For this reason, the national leadership of APC, contrary to its stance in other states where APC is facing crisis, have differed in Kogi.
However, while the Kogi government has intensified efforts to ensure that Dino is recalled, the Senate President, of whom Dino is a henchman, have tactically dragged the Senate into the intrigues and politics of the recall campaign being championed by the Kogi state government.
According to political analysts, Saraki is being unduly involved in the Kogi dispute because of his intention to have a strong footing in the state, by which he hopes to bolster his chances of winning the Presidential election in 2019 if he eventually wins the APC presidential ticket against President Buhari.
Recall that immediately after the senate resumed from its two weeks Sallah recess, Dino had brought a motion before the senate in which he claimed that most of the signatures in his recall were of dead persons.
INEC had on Monday last two week, released its time table for the notice and verification of the recall process against Dino Melaye, which over eight hundred thousand constituents appended their signatures.
But according to Melaye, on the election that brought him to office, “the total score of both valid and invalid votes for 9 candidates is 118,000 but my governor and his appointees in four days claim they got a signature of over 188,000 signatures.
“No where in my constituency did they seek to receive people’s signature because INEC’s data base for registered voters and copied in one writing into a recall register and forged all the signatures.
“I have over 120 dead certificates issued by the National Population Commission and these people’s relations and families have sworn to affidavit and these certificates have been deposited”
“The names of all these dead people appeared on the recall register submitted to INEC.116 of my constituents also have sworn to affidavit that their names and signatures appeared in the recall register and they are not the ones their signed it”
“Another 86 of my constituents have sworn to an affidavit that they were approached that the government wants to carry out a fertilizer empowerment programme and requested for their Permanent Voters Card and thereby deceived into putting their names in the recall register.”
According to Melaye, the recall is not by his constituents but by the state government.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who now elucidated the interest of the Senate in the crisis, said “I am wondering why we are dissipating energy on this matter and wasting precious legislative time on a matter we should not.
“What is happening in Kogi, in respect of Sen. Dino Melaye, as far as this constitution is concerned, it is an exercise in futility. They are just wasting precious time because the constitution is clear on what should happen. It is possible that the Attorney- General of Kogi
State has not advised them properly”.
He also said the state Attorney General of Kogi is not properly educated, questioning the credibility of the certificate and the law school he attended.
Saraki collaborated Ekwerenmadu position in his brief remarks as he said “as they say 10 years is no joke in leadership, the Deputy President of the senate has explained the processes. Let the process speak for itself. I really don’t know why a lot of efforts are being wasted that should have gone on more important things. Eventually it must come back here for us to consider whether it is satisfactory”.
However, the Kogi government, through the State Attorney General, Ibrahim Mohammad, responded by attacking the Senate, alleging that the Senate is plotting to frustrate the recall campaign against senator Dino, even as it noted that the senate has no role to play in the recall exercise other than to ratify the process.
Muhammed had in an advertorial published in national dailies, stated that “the senate has no role whatsoever in the recall exercise than to receive the certificate from the Chairman of INEC stating that the provisions of Section 69 of the Constitution has been complied with.
“Indeed by the provisions of the INEC regulation for the recall of a legislator, a legislator stands recalled upon INEC’s confirmation of a majority vote in favour of the recall”, he said.
“I have over 120 dead certificates issued by the National Population Commission and these people’s relations and families have sworn to affidavit and these certificates have been deposited”
“The names of all these dead people appeared on the recall register submitted to INEC.116 of my constituents also have sworn to affidavit that their names and signatures appeared in the recall register and they are not the ones their signed it”
“Another 86 of my constituents have sworn to an affidavit that they were approached that the government wants to carry out a fertilizer empowerment programme and requested for their Permanent Voters Card and thereby deceived into putting their names in the recall register.”
According to Melaye, the recall is not by his constituents but by the state government.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who now elucidated the interest of the Senate in the crisis, said “I am wondering why we are dissipating energy on this matter and wasting precious legislative time on a matter we should not.
“What is happening in Kogi, in respect of Sen. Dino Melaye, as far as this constitution is concerned, it is an exercise in futility. They are just wasting precious time because the constitution is clear on what should happen. It is possible that the Attorney- General of Kogi
State has not advised them properly”.
He also said the state Attorney General of Kogi is not properly educated, questioning the credibility of the certificate and the law school he attended.
Saraki collaborated Ekwerenmadu position in his brief remarks as he said “as they say 10 years is no joke in leadership, the Deputy President of the senate has explained the processes. Let the process speak for itself. I really don’t know why a lot of efforts are being wasted that should have gone on more important things. Eventually it must come back here for us to consider whether it is satisfactory”.
However, the Kogi government, through the State Attorney General, Ibrahim Mohammad, responded by attacking the Senate, alleging that the Senate is plotting to frustrate the recall campaign against senator Dino, even as it noted that the senate has no role to play in the recall exercise other than to ratify the process.
Muhammed had in an advertorial published in national dailies, stated that “the senate has no role whatsoever in the recall exercise than to receive the certificate from the Chairman of INEC stating that the provisions of Section 69 of the Constitution has been complied with.
“Indeed by the provisions of the INEC regulation for the recall of a legislator, a legislator stands recalled upon INEC’s confirmation of a majority vote in favour of the recall”, he said.

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