By Odunewu Segun
Despite being served with a court order restraining it from continuing with Sen. Dino Melaye’s recall process, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that no court order could stopped it from performing its constitutional duty.
National Daily gathered that lawyers representing Senator Dino Melaye on Monday, July 10, served the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with an order restraining it from continuing with the recall process.
Melaye’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said with the order, INEC has, therefore, been restrained by Justice John Tsoho from taking any steps on the matter of Senator Melaye’s recall till the hearing and determination of his motion on notice for interlocutory injunction against INEC fixed for September 29, 2017,” he said.
Melaye, representing Kogi West Senatorial District, is facing a recall by his constituents who have filed a recall with signatures; the recall will run from July 10 to August 19.
INEC decided to continue with the process based on precedents and judicial pronouncements, especially the Appeal Court judgement of 2001.
Mallam Mohammed Haruna, National Commissioner of INEC in charge of North-Central, said the Court of Appeal had since 2001 decided that a court cannot stop the recall of a lawmaker.
The INEC “Notice of Verification”, states: “In accordance with Section 69 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(As amended), notice is hereby given that the verification for the recall of the member representing Kogi West Senatorial District of Kogi State shall hold as follows:
“Date: 19th August, 2017; Time: 8am-2pm; Location: All polling units in Kogi West Senatorial District.”
A source said: “If you look at the provision of Section 87(10) of the Electoral Act, 2010(As amended), which is applicable in this instance, INEC cannot be stopped from doing its work of conducting election in any manner whatsoever.
“The provision of Section 110 of the 1999 Constitution is actually explicit on the recall. As an institution, INEC has nothing against Melaye or any lawmaker. We are expected to follow the constitution and the Electoral Act. Implementing a recall process is not a suicide mission for any lawmaker. If a lawmaker has the backing of his or her constituents, the recall process will be dead on arrival.”
Haruna said: “We have a Court of Appeal judgement on why court cannot stop the process. This judgment is dated back to 2001. Since there is a subsisting Court of Appeal judgment, we will abide by it.”