Dino Melaye’s Recall: Kogi Attorney-General wrong – Senate

Nigerian Senate
Nigerian Senate

The Senate on Tuesday deplored an advertorial by Kogi Government that the upper chamber had no role in the ongoing recall process of Sen. Dino Melaye.

This followed a Point of Order raised by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, at plenary.

Mr. Ekweremadu, who based the observation on Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rule, said his attention was drawn to a three-page advertorial by Attorney-General of the state, Ibrahim Muhammed, in a national daily.

He said that in the advertorial, Mr. Muhammed faulted his (Deputy President of the Senate’s) statement on the role of the Senate in the recall of a member.

According to him, the Attorney-General’s stand is a display of his ignorance on the provisions of the Constitution on the recall of legislators in the country.

Mr. Ekweremadu said that the advertorial was needless as it was a waste of Kogi peoples’ funds.

“The Attorney-General was responding to my contribution on the floor of the Senate when Sen. Dino Melaye informed the house of his constituents’ effort to recall him.

“In my statement, I urged the constituents to apply their time to more useful venture in view of the strenuous nature of recall of a lawmaker in the country and I said the AG may not have advised them properly.

“I understand that every page of the advertorial costs about N700, 000 and I learnt five other papers carried it. We are looking at about N12 million of Kogi Government funds.

“I would have ignored him but because of his statement in the final paragraph of the advertorial, I felt it is necessary to clarify issues,’’ he said.

Mr. Ekweremadu quoted Mr. Muhammed as saying that the Senate had no role in the recall 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 INEC’s regulation for the recall of a legislator, a legislator stands recalled upon INEC’s confirmation of a majority vote in favour of the recall.’’

The deputy president of Senate said that the Constitution was clear on the role of the Senate in the recall process.

“I would like to take him to Section 68(1H) and (2) to show the role of the Senate, which he says has no role.

“Section 68(1H) reads, `the President of the Senate or, as the case may be, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, receives a certificate under the hand of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, stating that the provisions of section 69 of this Constitution have been complied with in respect of the recall of that member.’

“That was the section the Attorney-General was referring to but he mischievously refused to state the provisions of section 2 or probably out of ignorance, he did not put Section 68(2).’’

He said that the section states that `The President of the Senate or Speaker of House of Representatives, as the case may be, shall give effect to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section.

`So, however, that the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives or a member shall first present evidence satisfactory to the House concerned that any of the provisions of that subsection has become applicable in respect of that member.’

Mr. Ekweremadu said, “I don’t know how he came to the conclusion that we don’t have a role. I stand by my position. I pity the people of Kogi that hired this type Attorney-General.

“It is unfortunate that we are paying a public servant and he is unable to do a simple work of looking at the Constitution.

“Let me emphasise that this section 68(2) is not part of the amendment we made to the Constitution. This has been the original provision of the Constitution, so we did not put it.

“It has nothing to do with Dino or whosoever. We inherited this provision since 1999. It has been there.’’

The lawmaker expressed concern at the manner in which the Attorney-General of the state allegedly misled the people of Kogi on the recall process, adding that he ought to have consulted properly to avoid embarrassment.

He called for an investigation into the source of money spent on the advertorial and a refund to the state government purse for the payment of workers’ salary.

“For the Attorney-General not to know about it I don’t know where he went to law school, because if he has been properly educated, he would have been conversant with the basic provisions of the Constitution.

“I also don’t know his age at the bar but I believe I am his senior at the bar and I expect him to show some respect to his senior because that is what we were taught at the law school.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I also believe I have better credentials than him in the legal profession. I was a teacher and my interest was Constitutional Law. I also practised law.

“I have a doctorate degree in law and my interest is also Constitutional Law.

“I have been the Chairman, Constitution Review Committee of this National Assembly since 2010. So, if I am talking about the Constitution, I know what I am talking about.

“So, I call on the Kogi House of Assembly to institute an inquiry on who paid for this and find a way of getting the money back to pay the salaries of the people of Kogi,’’ Ekweremadu said.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said it was unfortunate that the Attorney-General, who should have advised the people properly, was allegedly misleading them.

He also expressed concern over the amount of money that may have been spent on the advertorial.

“The Deputy President of the Senate came under Order 43 and according to our rules it cannot be further debated.

“But, I am concerned with the calibre of people holding very senior positions in this country.

“Even those of us who only have association with the legal profession by marriage have learnt over the years to know that this is straight forward.

“What is even more disturbing and irresponsible is how you can spend over N10 million on advertorial.

“This shows that it is government that is truly behind the entire process, when it can go about and take an advertorial on an issue like this.

“There is a need for people appointed or elected to positions to show some level of responsibility,” he said.

He expressed disappointment with the position of Muhammed on the matter, adding that “it is very unfortunate for the people of Kogi State.”

(NAN)


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  • Oladokun

    Sorry for Nigeria. A whole deputy Senate can’t multiply700,000 by 5 properly!!! No wonder we are at this stage of development. He said each advert was about 700,000 Naira, and was told the advert appeared on about 5 other advert, thus, 5+1=6. 6X700,000=12,000,000.00 to Ike, the Deputy Senate president of Nigeria.

    • John

      “I understand that every page of the advertorial costs about N700, 000 and I learnt five other papers carried it. We are looking at about N12 million of Kogi Government funds.

      Please can you state how many pages of the newspaper carried the advertorial? Multiply the number of pages by 5 other newpapers.

      • Mike

        Ekweremadu was right. He said they took 3 pages of about 5 different newspapers. Each page cost #700,000 ×3= #2.1m ×5 newspapers =#10.5m. I think some people when commenting on any national discourse should be careful nit to end up embarrassing himself. Who now said Ekweremadu is a nonentity?

    • Afo

      The guy is showing us that he is a nonentity. For a man that lacks understanding or mischievously twisting issues, he should be told that the only evidence to be presented to the Senate or House is the verified signatures and result of the referendum by INEC. It is becoming clear that some of them are beyond redemption. Sad and shameful.

    • Mike

      Can u look at the 3rd paragraph of the article.

  • Jacobus James

    I should have thought that Ekweremadu , given that he is a ‘lawyer’ should be working to uphold the legislative competence and image of the ‘senate’ not fighting to protect or sustain the stench pit made worse by the presence of a dumb-f…k called Dino. If Ekweremadu had any respect for the citizens of this country and any understanding of what the real senate should be he would have had Dino suspended pending his recall. But lo and behold, Ekweremadu is and illiterate lawyer whose construction of a simple provision of the constitution is flat wrong. The Senate Or House has NOTHING to do with the recall process. INEC has sole responsibility for the process. Only role for Senate or House is to give effect to the CERTIFICATE OF RECALL issued by INEC after satisfying itself that the certificate was indeed issued by INEC after due process.
    I feel very concerned that public officials sent to represent the Igbo make light of their duty and instead waste their time (on our dime) mucking around with trivia. Can his senatorial zone begin the process of recall for ‘Senator’, ‘Lawyer’ Ekweremadu?

  • Ehichioya Ezomon

    Going by what the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu noted: that the three-page advertorial was N700,000 per page and it was carried by six newspapers, the amount would be N12,600,000, and not N12 million that Ekweremadu estimated it to be or the N10 million Senate President Bukola Saraki stated. However, the actual amount may not be in these figures above, as there’s no same advert rates for all newspapers. Some may cost N700,000, others below N700,000, and yet others above N700,000 per page. Unless, of course, the Attorney-General of Kogi State or whoever placed the advertorials quoted N700,000 per page. In that case, the actual amount for the adverts would be N12,600,000. Thanks.