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BREAKING: Court Dismisses Melaye’s Suit, Orders INEC to Proceed with Recall

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed Senator Dino Melaye’s suit which is challenging the validity of the recall process embarked upon by his Kogi State Western Senatorial district.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba who took over the suit from Justice John Tsoho, Monday contrary to the suit, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to proceed with the recall process.

The judgment in effect has terminated the earlier ex parte order made by Justice Tsoho.

It would be recalled that Justice Tsoho had on July 6, 2017, directed that all parties should maintain the status quo.

As pointed out by the INEC to the Supreme Court, at the start of Melaye’s suit, Justice Dimgba noted that the 90 days period within which the Constitution allows the electoral body to conduct a referendum on receiving the recall petition had been stalled since June 23, when Melaye commenced the suit.

Consequently, the Judge held that the period would only continue to run from the date of latest ruling – Monday.

Justice Dimgba ruled that contrary to Melaye’s argument, there was no such provision in section 69 of the Constitution that requires his constituency to oblige him fair hearing before sending such petition to INEC.

This is despite that the Constitution did not again specifically provide that the INEC must serve the affected legislator with the petition and the accompanying documents.

He held it was only required in the spirit of fair hearing to prepare the Lawmaker to oppose the recall process.

According to Justice Dimgba, Melaye’s suit was “hasty, premature and presumptuous”.

The jurist noted that the INEC had already scheduled the exercise for the verification of the authenticity of the signatures in support of the petition being opposed by Senator Melaye.

In effect, the Judge ruled that Melaye ”must first go into the verification exercise and only when he does not get justice that he can come to court”.

While ruling on the required signature to proceed with the recall, justice Dimgba held that in the face of the statistical analysis accompanying the suit, the number of signatures gathered to begin the recall process in Melaye Senatorial’s district was 188, 588 out of the 360,100 ‎registered voters. This he held has met the constitutional requirement.

Melaye’s recall process which he alleged was politically motivated followed his many unruly conduct and outburst, which many of his ruling APC members considered as offensive and embarrassing to the party and its Leadership.

 

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