The people of Kogi West think they can recall senator Dino Melaye? They've got to be kidding.
Last week, some members of Senator Dino Melaye's constituency informed the world that they were initiating moves to recall their representative from Nigeria's upper legislative chamber.
You can insert a 'rolling-on-the-floor-laughing' smiley here if you want.
Just come with us.
Melaye who represents Kogi West in the senate, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately.
He's become a very bad boy.
He's been accused of not graduating from university, allegations that he bribed a judge to swing an election tribunal case his way have persisted and audio tapes have been made public; featuring the senator promising to frame an innocent person with respect to an alleged assassination attempt.
Melaye has also blessed the nation with a dance video–Ajekun Iya has become a national staple.
All of this, much to the embarrassment of Melaye's constituents who sent him to Abuja to give them a decent representation.
"Let it be known that all of the Local Government Areas comprising Kogi West Senatorial Zone are united in their resolve to recall Senator Dino Melaye and remove the disgrace he has become to all of us", read a statement signed by spokespersons from Yagba West, Yagba East, Mopamuro, Ijumu, Kabba/Bunu, Koton-Karfe and Lokoja.
Some of Melaye's sins as listed by his constituents include: "not having a constituency office, instituting no projects in the constituency after two years as a senator, insulting leaders, elders and personalities, irresponsible utterances and thuggery", among a host of other misdemeanours.
Melaye has laughed off the recall move, of course. "I am not scared", he said, "I am not perturbed".
He's got no reason to be.
"They (the petitioners) are sponsored by Smart Adeyemi and my Governor (Yahaya Bello) and I want to tell you that those who came to ask for the recall are not even my constituents. And it is unfortunate that they do not even know what to do. INEC told them to go back", Melaye all but chuckled under his breath.
The senator is right. Recalling a lawmaker in Nigeria is akin to squeezing water out of a piece of rock. You are better off expecting manna to drop from the skies.
The framers of the 1999 constitution (as amended) made it impossible to recall any lawmaker; no matter how embarrassing that lawmaker turns out.
Section 69 of the 1999 constitution spells out the procedures for recalling a senator.
To get Melaye back home, the good people of Kogi West would have to scale the following hurdles:
1. More than half of the registered voters in Melaye's senatorial district will write, sign and send a petition to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), explaining how badly they've lost confidence in Melaye.
How do you get more than half of the registered voters in a constituency in Nigeria to sign a petition?
Like, where you gonna find them, bruh?
2. That petition must be signed and arranged according to polling units, wards, Local Government Areas, and constituency.
Yeah, you read that right.
But it gets even more difficult.
3. INEC will thereafter notify Melaye that his people want him recalled.
4. INEC will then issue a public notice or announcement stating the date, time and location where it intends to verify the signatures on the recall petition.
Hold on a minute, you can't even beat the next procedure…
5. To verify the signatures on the petition, INEC must ensure that the signatories are individuals who appear on the voters’ register.
Meaning that if you never voted during the election for some reason, you have no right to ask a lawmaker out even if he's become a complete rascal or a nutcase.
Plus, just how do you ensure that you get signatories of the required number of people who voted in an election, months ago?
A chunk of voters could have changed addresses or passed on…or both.
Many constituents would have since moved on with their lives to care about a senator who wears an academic gown to plenary.
6. INEC will thereafter conduct a referendum where more than one half (50% + 1) of the signatories will need to be verified.
C'mon guys, algebra was also thrown into the mix.
7. If the number of persons verified by INEC is less than one half of the registered voters in that constituency, the entire petition will be dismissed.
Meaning it has failed.
8. INEC will conduct a referendum within 90 days of receipt of the petition if the minimum requirements for a referendum have been met.
The referendum will be a simple 'yes' or 'no' vote on whether the senator should be recalled.
A simple majority will decide which way it goes from here.
9. If majority of the voters in the constituency vote ‘yes’, the INEC chairman will send a Certificate of Recall to Senate President Bukola Saraki, demanding that Melaye returns to Kogi as an ex senator, his tail between his legs.
So, let's just break this news nicely to the people of Kogi West: you can't recall Melaye, much as you want that to happen so badly.
You are stuck with him until 2019 at the latest. He's your cross to carry.
If what you just read above sounds like rocket science, that's because it is.
Little wonder Melaye is laughing at y'all.
He knows he's untouchable at the moment
And, if like the people of Kogi West, you've been dreaming of recalling your 'despicable' representative from the national assembly, fat chance bruh.
You've lost the battle before it had even begun.
Dun cry, dun beg.
Just ensure you vote wisely next time around, okay?
That's all the help we can offer you for now.