The 1999 constitution (as amended) empowers Nigerian voters to sack elected lawmakers at any point during their four-year term with a carefully laid out recall process.
Sections 69 and 110 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) allows registered voters in a lawmaker's constituency to recall them if there's a loss of confidence in the lawmaker.
The recall process can be used to sack elected lawmakers in the National Assembly, State House of Assembly, and a councilor in an Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Below is a quick rundown of the process:
Collation and submission of signatures
Over 50% of registered voters in a lawmaker's constituency must sign a recall petition to be submitted to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
For example, if a constituency has a total of 100 voters, at least 51 of them must sign the petition to trigger the recall process.
It doesn't matter if less than 50 of the 100 registered voters participated in the election that earned the lawmaker their seat in the first place.
Petitioners can request a Certified True Copy (CTC) of registered voters from INEC to confirm the number of registered voters in the constituency.
Notification and Verification
After crosschecking to confirm that the petition is in proper order, INEC will notify the affected lawmaker of the recall against them.
A timetable of events will then be released by the commission to outline how the process will be handled.
A verification exercise will be conducted at polling units in the lawmaker's constituency.
The verification applies only to all those registered voters who signed the petition as they will be required to appear physically to confirm that they signed the recall register themselves.
If the signatures of over 50% of registered voters who signed the petition are verified, the process proceeds to the next crucial stage.
If the verification is successful, a referendum will be conducted in the constituency.
The referendum requires all registered voters in the constituency to vote 'Yes' or 'No' to determine if the lawmaker should be recalled or not.
If the referendum ends in a 'No' vote, the lawmaker will continue their term. The petitioners are allowed to start the process all over again.
If the referendum ends in a 'Yes' vote, INEC will send a Certificate of Recall to the lawmaker's legislative house to officially notify that the lawmaker has been sacked.
Constitutionally, the recall process must be completed within 90 days from when INEC receives the signatures.
INEC will conduct a bye-election to fill the vacant seat.
The recalled lawmaker is allowed to take part in the bye-election.
On record, no Nigerian lawmaker has ever been successfully recalled.