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29 Apr 2018

Melaye Recall Verification Exercise Flops As Voters Shun Centres

The process for the recall of the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, suffered a major setback on Saturday as registered voters in the areas shunned the signature verification exercise in most polling units.

At the Lokoja Club polling unit 016  Ward A in the Lokoja LGA, where 875 petitioners signed the register, only two people made themselves available for verification as of 10am.

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Also at the Ukwo Okoriko Compound polling unit 003 in the Kogi/Kotonkarfe Local Government Area, only 18 petitioners out of the 440, who appended their signatures on the document, had been verified as of 11am when one of our correspondents visited the polling unit.

The same scenario occurred at the Ohagabi polling unit 003 in the Kogi/Kotonkarfe LGA, where only 43 out of the 500 petitioners turned up for the verification as of 11.33am.

SUNDAY PUNCH  also visited Oworo Ward E polling unit 012 in the Lokoja LGA where only 40 out of the 500 petitioners who signed the recall document had been verified as of noon.

At the Felele polling unit 004 Ward 8 in Lokoja, none of the 815 petitioners who signed the recall document turned up for the verification exercise as of 12.27pm.

The exercise, scheduled to start at 8am, had yet to commence at Lokongoma/phase1, where one of our correspondents observed that the officials were still pasting the voter list as of 10am.

Similarly, at unit 001, Open Mammy Market, opposite Chari Meigumeri Barracks also in Lokoja, no one was in the queue when one of our correspondents got there around 10am.

The electoral officer on duty explained that some voters visited the centre to check their names, returned home, and refused to show up for verification.

The INEC official, who pleaded anonymity, said he arrived at the centre in company with his colleagues as early as 8am.

At the Oworo Ward 8 Unit 4 Lokoja, where 815 petitioners were on the recall list, nobody showed up for the verification exercise as of 12:37pm.

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At Oworo Ward 8, Unit 12, which had 1,005 voters on the recall petition list, only 40 petitioners presented themselves for the exercise as of 12.08pm.

A similar scenario was recorded in the Koton Karfi LG, polling unit 003, where 18 out of the 440 petitioners on the recall list appeared for the verification.

SUNDAY PUNCH observed that the apathy, which marred the exercise, was witnessed across the senatorial district.

A registered voter at the polling unit on the premises of the Lokoja Club, Samuel Olokotun, protested against his wife’s name on the petition list, saying that the woman did not sign the recall sheet.

The Independent National Electoral Commission is expected to officially announce the result of the verification exercise today.

Meanwhile, INEC said that it was not aware that Melaye was detained by the police.

The Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, told one our correspondents that INEC had received no official communication regarding Melaye’s detention.

He said INEC had only been hearing about Melaye in the media.

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Osaze-Uzzi, however, said Melaye’s recall process would not be affected by his absence or presence.

The INEC official said, “I don’t know if he is in detention. You are the one telling me.”

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