The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) assured yesterday that it would be unbiased and transparent in the recall process of the Senator representing Kogiå West senatorial district of Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye.
INEC’s federal commissioner in charge of Kogi, Kwara and Nasarawa states,å Alhaji Mohammed Haruna, who spoke in Lokoja shortly after the end of the exercise, said the main concern of INEC was to ensure transparency in the process, insisting that the organisation was impartial in the bid to recall Melaye from the Senate.
Dispelling insinuations that INEC might tamper with the wishes of the people, the commissioner said that nothing like that will happen, stressing that the agency has no interest in who wins or loses in the matter.
“Nothing untoward will happen, I assure you. Whatever happened at the polling units is what INEC will announce,” he stated.
On the mix-up in the list of petitioners, Haruna noted that mistakes in such exercise were normal, saying they would be corrected.
He lauded the peaceful conduct of the people before and during the exercise.
The petitioners angling for Melaye’s turned out at the polling units for verification in most of the places LEADERSHIP Sunday visited yesterday.
At the Lokoja Club polling unit 016 in Ward A of Lokoja local government area, the ward was filled to the brim by voters that signed for the recall in that polling unit.
In the same vein, at the Ukwo Okoriko Compound polling unit 003 in Kogi/Kotonkarfe local government area, the exercise was going on smoothly with people trooping in.
At Ohagabi Polling Unit 003 in Kogi/Kotonkarfe local government area, only 300 out of 500 petitioners who appended signatures for the recall turned out for the verification as at 11:33am.
A check at Oworo Ward E Polling Unit 012 in Lokoja local government area, only 200 out of the 500 petitioners that signed the recall document had been verified by noon.
At Felele Polling Unit 004 Ward 8 in Lokoja, none of the 815 petitioners that signed the recall document turned out for the verification exercise as at 12.27pm.
A check at polling unit 004, Ward 3 in Lokoja showed that 500 out of the 1,251 petitioners that appended signatures for the recall had been verified for the exercise.
At polling unit 002, Ward B in Lokoja, only 200 out of the 850 petitioners that signed the recall document had been verified as at 1:00pm.
At Ward A, Unit 12 in Crowther Memorial College, Lokoja, only eight petitioners out of the 805 petitioners that signed the recall document were verified.
The exercise went on smoothly without any rancour as every polling unit was seen to have been secured by armed policemen.
Lokoja and its environs were said to be agog with celebration, as the youths and women who said they were dissatisfied with the lifestyle of the Senator prayed for the recall process to scale through.
Meanwhile, the administrator of Kogi local government, Mallam Tanko Musa, described the exercise as very peaceful in his area.
He pointed out that the petitioners were reporting at each polling units without molestation, adding that they were there to check their names and do the verification exercise without further delay.
The police public relations officer in Kogi State, Mr William Aya, confirmed the peaceful conduct of the recall exercise to our correspondent in Lokoja yesterday.