The Recall process of the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Senator Dino Melaye, Kogi West, Tuesday took another dimension as the Senate accused the governor Yahaya Bello led state government of the being the mastermind of moves to recall Melaye.
Tuesday’s action was an indication that both the Senate and the Government of Kogi State, maybe heading for a major battle, just as the upper chamber for second time has insisted that Kogi State Government was wasting the state’s lean resources to sponsor the recall process.
The Senate has also insisted that it has a major constitutional role to play in the recall process with regard to the approval or disapproval at the end of the day Senate’s reaction were sequel to a three page advertorial published in some national dailies yesterday by the Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice Kogi State, Ibrahim Sani Mohammed where he kicked against Senate’s position on the recall process by declaring that the upper legislative chamber has no constitutional role whosoever to play in the process.
The attention of the Senate was drawn to the advertisements carried in various newspapers by the kogi State government through a point of order by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who spoke while relying on Order 43, saying that the Attorney-General of Kogi State, Mr. Ibrahim Sanni Muhammed, erred in a three-page advertorial placed in some national dailies. The Kogi State Attorney- General in the advertorial took exception to submissions made by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu last week during Senate’s deliberation on the recall process, the bulk of which was later taken as the Senate’s position on the raging issue.
The Attorney- General said, “A situation where the Deputy Senate President, would on the floor of the Senate, describe a lawful exercise of recall initiated by the good people of Kogi West Senatorial District as an exercise in futility or posit that the constituents are wasting precious time, is highly regrettable and condemnable.
“I must also put on record that contrary to the legal opinion of Senator Ekweremadu on the role of the Senate in the recall process, the Senate has no role whatsoever in the exercise than to receive the Certificate under the hand of the Chairman of INEC stating the provisions of sections 69 of the constitution have been complied with in line with sections 68(h) and 69 of the 1999 constitution. “Indeed by the provisions of INEC regulations for the recall of a legislator, a legislator stands recalled upon INEC’s confirmation of a majority vote in favour of the recall”.
In his remarks, Senate President Bukola Saraki who presided over yesterday’s plenary session said that he pitied for the people of Kogi Stare, even as he alleged that the government was behind the recall exercise. The Senate President who agreed with the position of Ekweremadu as regards the constitutional right given the Senate in the recall process, however declared that the Advertorial by the Kogi State Attorney General clearly shows that the recall exercise against Senator Melaye was engineered by the State Government. Saraki said, “The Deputy President of the Senate came under Order 43 and according to our rules it cannot be further debated, but honestly I am concerned with the caliber of people holding very senior positions in the land.
Even those of us who only have association with the legal profession by being married to one but we have learnt over the years to know that this is straight forward. “What is even more disturbing and irresponsible is how the state government spent about N10 million on adverts. I have been a governor, when you file money for advert it is a difficult issue. “This pretty much shows that it is government that is truly behind the entire process, when a government can go about and take an advert on an issue like this.
This is a very simple matter in the constitution. You did not write it neither did you invent it, so DSP, you were just reading it as it is and you are right. “As you said, it is very unfortunate for the people of Kogi state to have such a person as their Attorney- General”. Earlier in his presentation, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who insisted that the Senate has a very vital role to play in the process, however questioned the intellectual capacity of the Attorney –General on the issues on ground, saying that he was ignorant of the law. Ekweremadu who urged the State Government to channel the resources used in sponsoring the recall exercise to payment of workers’ salaries, said: “I understand that every page cost of advertorial is about N700,000 and five other papers published the same thing. We are talking about N12 million of Kogi money spent. Ekweremadu further said that “This morning( yesterday), my attention was drawn to a three page advertorial by AG of Kogi state in some national dailies.
I would have ignored him but because of his statement in the final paragraph stating that ” I must put on record that contrary to the legal opinion of Senator Ekweremadu on the role of the senate in recall process. The senate has no role whatsoever in the recall exercise than to receive the certificate from the Chairman of INEC stating that the provision of Section 69 of the Constitution has been complied with. “He (Kogi Attorney-General) is saying that the Senate has no role. I stand by what I said the other day and I would like to take him to Section 68(1H) and (2).
It shows 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) which states“The President of the Senate or the Speaker of the 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. “I don’t know how he came to conclusion that we don’t have a role. I stand by my position.
So, I pity the people of Kogi that hired this type of 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 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 effect it. It has nothing to do with Dino Melaye or whosoever. We inherited this provision since 1999. It has been there. “So, for him not to know about it, I don’t know where he went to law school anyway, 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 specialization was Constitutional law. I also practiced law. I have a doctorate degree in law and my interest is also Constitutional Law.
“I am also 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.
I expected the Attorney General to have called him for needed education on the issues at hand rather than his brazen display of ignorance; to simply call me and I will educate him on the correct position of the law.”