The independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has halt the action on efforts by voters in Kogi West to recall senator Dino Melaye that came as a result of the Senate’s call to probe the Tertiary Education trust fund (TETFund). after an impromptu meeting earlier today, INEC finalized to freeze the recall effort, citing legal complications.
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, served as TETFUND’s executive secretary from 2007 to 2012. His time at the Fund was marked by a series of allegations of corruption against him.
As recently as last Monday, INEC had been adamant that the process to recall Mr. Melaye was not off course. today Melaye’s lawyer, mike Ozekhome, had submitted legal papers to INEC officials, stating that an order by Justice John Tsoho that all parties should maintain the status quo was sufficient to abandon the recall initiative. Even so, INEC initially maintained that the judge’s pronouncement was not sufficient to halt the process, showing that the judge did not agree to grant an interim order to back a cessation of action.
However, INEC began the next phase of the recall that had to do with verification of signatures. However, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu did not hide the Senate’s dismay for the process. In his response, he described the process as ”dead on arrival”.
Public pushback against the Senate’s interference was sharp and massive. A senator told our correspondent that, on Tuesday night, Senate President Saraki and other Senate leaders met and decided that, so as to contain the recall, “some rough tactics were necessitated.” At the end of the meeting, the senators decided that the most probably effective strategy was to open a look into TETFUND’s past projects, alleging that contractors had embezzled funds in the past.
Jibrin Barau, an APC senator from Kano State, moved a motion demanding a probe of TETFund. He said that “investigative audit was required of the contracts awarded by TETFund in the past years”.
Twenty-four hours after the Senate move, INEC met and agreed to suspend the recall, despite the fact that the commission said it was going to get a vacation of the court order to enable the commission to resume the recall.