By Friday Idachaba
Sen. Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West Senatorial district in the National Assembly says the signatures allegedly collected to influence his recall and forwarded to INEC were forged.
Addressing newsmen on Sunday in Lokoja, Melaye who said investigations had revealed that even the dead signed the recall across the seven area councils of the senatorial district, described the process as fraudulent.
Speaking through one of his legislative aides, Malam Abubakar Sadiq, the embattled senator said names and signatures of dead constituents were on the list.
According to him, the name of a former governorship aspirant of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state, late Chief Rotimi Obadofin precisely from Iya-Gbede axis was on the list.
“Let me also sound authoritatively that here in Lokoja Local Government Council, several others whose names and signatures appeared on the list of the signatories to this failed exercise were identified and known to us as being dead long before now.
“Such people like late Abdullahi Abubakar, his immediate younger sister late Halima Lawal Abubakar and Ibrahim Adama of Unit Code 021, Adankolo Ring Road in Ward ‘A’, Lokoja Local Government Council.
Also one late Salihu Black of Gegu-Beki town, Kogi Local Government Council who until his death was a biology teacher in Government Secondary School, Koton-Karfe, also appended his signature on the recall list.
“This recall exercise was hatched in Kogi Government House due to the manner in which Senator Dino Melaye consistently challenges and engages the government over non-payment of workers’ salaries and pensioners for over 15 months; and also the constant closure of tertiary institutions,” he stated.
Senator Melaye also alleged that they claimed to have gotten over 188,000 signatories of electorates in Kogi West when the total vote cast, both valid and rejected, in the last senatorial election of 2015, was merely 111, 000 for all the candidates that participated.
In a swift reaction, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi said Senator Dino Melaye should stop worrying about INEC.
Bello, who spoke through his chief Press Secretary, Mrs Petra Onyegbule, said facts about the constituents were with INEC which had the responsibility of verifying the signatures.
“There is nothing for the distinguished senator to be worried about. INEC has set July 3, for the public verification of signatures and the date is around the corner; there is no point burning their energies all over the place”, Onyegbule said
On the alleged collation of signatures in Government House, the spokesperson said it was absolutely false as no single signature was collated in Government House.