From Ahmad Ibrahiim, Lokoja
Following the nod by the Court of Appeal to the Independent National Electoral Commission to proceed with the recall process of the member representing the Western axis of Kogi State at the red chamber of the National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye, the electoral umpire has released a tentative dates for the conclusion of the stormy exercise.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Kogi State, Prof James Apam who disclosed this during a meeting with stakeholders in Lokoja yesterday, said the first leg of the process, which is the verification of the signatories to the petition is slated for the last Saturday of April, this year.
He disclosed further that the second leg of the process which is a referendum where 50% plus one vote of the electorates’ nod is required to formalize the recall process in the affected constituency is slated for the first Saturday of the month of May, this year.
The REC however revealed that the tentative dates slated for the exercise are subject to ratification by the top hierarchy of the commission in Abuja, adding that a meeting to deliberate on the matter comes up today at the headquarters of the electoral body.
Equally, Prof Apam disclosed that the electoral umpire strongly believes in due process and rule of law, stressing that INEC is poised to see to the conclusion of the exercise using enough and trained manpower.
He maintained, however, that the court still has the final say on how the matter would be concluded, pointing out that as a body that strictly abide by the rule of law, if the court asks them to proceed they go ahead and if otherwise they would comply accordingly.
He expressed the commitment of the commission to conduct credible, free and fair elections next year, urging the political parties to continue to abide by the rules of the game, by shunning acts capable of frustrating the process.
The resident electoral commissioner also disclosed that they have decided to suspend the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration exercise in Omala and Dekina local governments, in the Eastern flank of the state, due to security challenges arising from herdsmen attacks.