The drama in Nigeria's parliament in the last two weeks cannot but go unnoticed. The nation's highest lawmaking body has been engulfed in grave allegations of scandals that bother on university certificate and over fake Customs document scandals. The allegations bothering on Certificate was on Kogi West lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, while that of fake documents was on Senate President Bukola Saraki. The two were yesterday cleared of the allegations but Nigerians should not be ignorant of their responsibilities as citizens – they also have the power to call home, their representatives if involved in 'dirty' deals.
This process of ejecting a lawmaker from the parliament is called Recall.
In Nigeria's 1999 constitution,a recall is the process through which a validly elected Senator may be removed from his/her seat in the Senate. It is a voting process where the electorate decide via a referendum (a yes or no vote) whether they want the Senator to remain for the rest of his term or whether he should be recalled.
The process for recalling a Senator is contained in Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution.
The steps are:
1 More than half of the registered voters in the Senator’s senatorial district write, sign and send a petition to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC alleging their loss of confidence in the senator.
2. The petition must be signed, and arranged according to polling units, wards, Local Government Areas, and constituency.
3. INEC notifies the Senator sought to be recalled, stating that it has received a petition for his or her recall, if the petition is valid.
4. INEC issues a public notice or announcement stating the date, time and location of the verification of signatures to the petition.
5 INEC verifies the signatures to the petition at the designation. The signatories must be individuals who appear on the voters’ register.
6. INEC conducts a referendum if more than one half (50% + 1) of the signatories are verified
7. INEC writes to the petitioners stating that the minimum requirements for a referendum were not met, if the number verified is less than one half of the registered voters in that constituency. The petition will therefore be dismissed.
8. INEC conducts a referendum within 90 days of receipt of the petition if the minimum requirements for a referendum are met. The referendum will be a simple yes or no vote on whether the Senator should be recalled, and will be decided by simple majority of the votes of the persons registered to vote in that Senator’s constituency.
9. If majority of the voters in the constituency vote ‘yes’ the Chairman of the INEC will send a Certificate of Recall to the Senate President to effect the recall.
10. The Senate President will show affected senator the way out of the Senate.