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What do we do when our Honourables stop behaving Honourably? What is the way out when our law-makers abandon their constitutional call to take on the calling of the likes of Floyd Mayweather?
We simply RECALL them!
Actually it's not that simple but it is said that those who refuse to go far can not ascertain how far they can go.
The wise men who drafted the constitution probably didn't have it in mind that the hallowed chambers could be transformed into a boxing ring someday. However, they had it in contemplation that an elected official might betray the trust of the electorates or jettison the confidence reposed in him/her. Therefore, certain provisions have been put in place to curtail excesses. Some of this provisions are exercised by other officials or in this case by the electorates themselves.
So how do we Recall?
Under the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, sections 69 and 110 provide for the manner by which recall may be effected in both federal and state legislative houses respectively. For the purpose of exactitude, it is important to reproduce verbatim this constitutional provision on recall. Section 69 states:
“A member of the Senate or of the House of representatives may be recalled as such a member if:
(a) there is presented to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission a petition in that behalf signed by more than one-half of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency alleging their loss of confidence in that member; and which signatures are duly verified by the Independent National Electoral Commission;
(b) the petition is thereafter, in a referendum conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission within ninety days of the date of receipt of the petition, approved by a simple majority of the votes of the persons registered to vote that in member’s constituency.”
To further simplify the proviso, it is broken down thus:
I. The electorates must present a petition alleging loss of confidence in a law-maker. The phrase “loss of confidence” is not defined in the Constitution and this means that the electorates are at the liberty to determine what constitutes this phrase. Any event, actions or inactions may warrant the electorate to lose confidence in a law-maker. When we go a little farther, it implies that a law-maker need not necessarily be accused of any wrong-doing or be culpable of any misconduct before the electorate can say they have lost confidence in him;
II. This petition must be signed by more than one-half of the registered voters in that member’s constituency. For instance, if a member’s constituency has 4000 registered voters, not less than 2001 registered voters must sign the petition;
III. The petition is to be submitted to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission;
IV. Upon receipt, the Independent National Electoral Commission must:
(a) verify the authenticity of the signatures;
(b) conduct a referendum within ninety days of the receipt of the petition in order to get it approved by a simple majority of the votes of registered persons in that constituency. For instance, if only 1000 out of the 2001 registered voters turn out for the referendum, a simple majority of which may be anything from 501 votes upward will be enough to approve the petition.
And that's it. Senator-Tout comes home! Honourable-Thuggery leaves the house!
I think its high time we explored this constitutional remedy before things fall apart. Because as we all know, when things fall apart, the center cannot hold.
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