From Felix Ikem, Nsukka

A former Senior Special Assistant on Protocols and Security to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Amb Ejike Eze has called on the leadership of the National Assembly to remove obstacles that impede constituents from recalling their non-performing elected leaders.

Eze, who was the Senatorial Candidate for All Progressive Congress (APC) in Enugu North Senatorial District in the last general elections made the call in Nsukka on Saturday while speaking with newsmen on why some elected leaders have failed to give their people effective representation.

He said that non-performing representatives are hiding and basking under the rigorous recall of elected representative clause as enshrined in the constitution to give their constituents poor representations.

He noted accordingly that, Section 69 of the Constitution provides that; a member of the Senate or 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 (b) The petition is thereafter, in a referendum conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission within 90 days of the date of receipt of the petition, approved by a simple majority of the votes of the persons registered to vote in that member’s constituency.

“If you check records since 1999 many constituencies and districts have attempted to recall their representatives in the national assembly or state assembly but they met a brick wall midway.

“This is because of the rigorous process and technicalities in the recall section of the constitution.

“So, if we want elected leaders to perform, offer effective and efficient representations that will bring democracy dividends to the people, all obstacles and technicalities in the recalling process should be removed through constitution amendment,” he said.

Eze explained that he is one of those who believed that when someone elected to represent the people failed to perform within two years of his/her election, such person should be recalled and replaced.

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“That is why during my senatorial campaign in 2023, I told my district people to recall me if after two years I did not meet their expectations.

“If I had won that election to represent the district, if by two years I did not perform based on my campaign promises I would not have waited for people to kick-start the recall process but I could have resigned to save my face from shame.

“As a career diplomat who worked 33 years in Federal Civil Service, served as Senior Special Assistant to former President Obasanjo on Protocols and Security as well as travelled to so many countries on diplomatic missions my word is my bond,” he said.

The career diplomate said until obstacles and technicalities in the recalling process were removed the issue of elected leaders pocketing constituency project funds, diverting palliatives money and materials for their constituents would continue to occur with impunity.

“I don’t understand the reason why an elected leader will decide to divert or sell palliative items given to him/her by the government for his people.

“Some state or national lawmakers collect millions of naira from the government to carry out constituency projects in their areas but at last the money is diverted to their pockets because they know recalling them is a herculean task,” he said.

Eze said his experience during the 2023 general elections with some politicians, electoral officers, security agencies, and political party supporters shows that the country still had a long way to achieve free and fair elections.

“Majority of politicians in the country and their supporters still practice the politics of do or die because they want to win by all means.

“I thanked God, I survived the onslaught of professional politicians during the 2023 general elections,” he said.