Dino Melaye's Recall and Democracy in Nigeria: Matters Arising! -Ishola Adebayo

March 23, 2018

It is no longer news that the people of Kogi West Senatorial District have approached the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking for the removal of Mr Dino Melaye through a recall process. A recall is the power of voters to unseat a serving lawmaker before his/her tenure elapse.

The unfolding debacle of Mr Melaye's recall process has no doubt elicited curiosity amongst Nigerians about one of the most obscured but powerful constitutional instruments in Nigeria’s evolving democratic system.

Although, the recall process was commenced by INEC last year, but Melaye headed for the court to halt it, he lost at the High Court and thereafter appealed. Following an appeal court ruling which dismissed the appeal filed by Mr Melaye against the judgment delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba at the Federal High Court in 2017, on grounds that there was no cause of action, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kogi State has now announced the commencement of the recall process of Dino Melaye, he has however vowed to proceed to the Supreme Court to challenge this decision.

Though, the process is now like a herculean task, Nigerians must be ready to toy it as enunciated by the electoral law and the constitution. There has not been a successful recall of any lawmaker in the history of our democracy. They believe that once they receive the people’s mandate, no Jupiter will truncate their tenure. This encourages and promotes recklessness, indifference and nonchalant attitude among them.

If the recall succeeds, it would signal the emergence of true representative democracy that is accountable. If he loses out, his errant colleagues will become jittery and readjust, so as not to fall victims, especially those who turn their backs on their constituents after they are elected into office.

Mr Melaye's recall will make other members of the National Assembly to jettison their toga of arrogance and those who have skeletons in the cupboards will begin to make amends. We will be better for it democratically in Nigeria.