Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on Tuesday condemned the Kogi State Government for its alleged roles in the ongoing process to recall the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Dino Melaye, from the National Assembly.
Both of them specifically criticised the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Kogi State, Mr. Ibrahim Sani Muhammed, for criticising the Senate as lacking constitutional backing to stop Melaye’s recall.
Ekweremadu, while raising a point of order at the plenary on Tuesday, referred the lawmakers to a three-page advertorial by Muhammed, in which the commissioner criticised his last week submissions at the Senate on Melaye’s recall.
The senator noted that the every page of the advertorial cost about N700,000, adding “for this alone, they spent about N2m and I understand that it is in about five other papers so we are looking at about N12m spent to responding to my comment.
“I expect the Attorney-General, instead of displaying his ignorance, to simply call me and I will educate him on the position of the law,” he said.
The Deputy Senate President condemned the Kogi State Government for using a three-page advertorial in newspapers to reply him. He said the money could have been used to pay part of the salaries owed workers in the state.
“Meanwhile, what I said was supposed to be privileged; that is what the law says. I would have ordinarily ignored him but I will like to point out his final paragraph so that I will put everything in the right perspective,” he said.
In the paragraph, Muhammed had stated that “the Senate has no role whatsoever in the recall exercise than to receive the certificate of under the hand of the Chairman of INEC, stating that the provisions of Section 69 of the Constitution have been complied with.” He also cited Section 68.
Ekweremadu further said in part, “I stand by what I said the other day and I still like to take him to Section 68(2) of the Constitution to show the role of the Senate, if he is saying we don’t have any role. He surreptitiously refused to cite sub-section 2 or, probably out of
ignorance, he did not put Section 68(2).
“I don’t know how he came to the conclusion that we do not have any role to play. I stand by my position that when INEC is through with any recall process, they must write the Senate President who will read it to us and we must be satisfied that the provisions of Section 69 in reference to recall have been fully complied with.
“I pity the people of Kogi State who hired his kind of attorney-general. It is unfortunate that they are paying a public servant and he is unable to do a simple work of looking at the Constitution.
“Let me also emphasise that this Section 68(2) is not part of the amendments we have made since 1999; this has been the original provision of the Constitution; we did not invent it and it has nothing to do with Dino. We inherited it since 1999.
“So, for him not to know about it; I don’t know where he went to law school, anyway. If he had been properly educated, he should have been conversant with the basic provisions of the Constitution. I also don’t know his age at the bar but, apparently, I know that I am his senior at the bar and I expect him to show some respect to his senior. That is what we were taught at the law school.”
Saraki, in his remarks, expressed concern over “the calibre of people put in very serious positions in government.” He stated that the Constitution was clear on the recall process.
“What is even more disturbing and irresponsible is how they have spent over N10m on adverts,” he added.
The Senate President accused the state government of culpability in the move to recall Melaye due to the interest it had showed in the process.
He said, “It is an issue that I don’t see the involvement of government in it. This even shows that it is the government that truly behind this entire process; when a government can take an advert on an issue like this.
“I think, sincerely, there is a need for some of the people who are appointed or elected into positions to show some level of responsibility. This is a simple matter that is stated in the Constitution. It is very unfortunate for the people of Kogi State.