20 Jul 2017

INEC claimed Court didn’t consider Constitution before stopping Melaye’s recall process

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said the interim order stopping the process of recalling the senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, was made by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja, without considering key provisions of the Constitution.

The commission made this submission in its fresh motion filed on July 14, 2017 before the vacation judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, requesting that the interim order granted on July 6, 2017 be vacated.

In the motion filed on July 14, INEC contended that the interim order was granted without Justice Tsoho considering the constitutional provision mandating it to conduct a referendum for Melaye’s recall within 90 days from the date it received the constituents’ petition to that effect.

Justice Tsoho had, on July 6, 2017 granted the ex parte interim order stopping INEC from going ahead with the recall process and adjourned the case until September 29.

But INEC’s lawyer, Mr. Sulayman Ibrahim, had filed the application seeking the setting aside of the interim order before Justice Dimgba, being the only one sitting as the Federal High Court’s vacation judge in Abuja.

INEC has already filed a counter-affidavit backed by a written address on July 14 in opposition to the main suit which was instituted by Melaye.

Justice Dimgba, on Thursday, fixed July 27 for hearing of the motion seeking accelerated hearing of the case.

Through his lead counsel, Ozekhome, Melaye had, on June 23, sued INEC, seeking an order restraining the electoral body from conducting any referendum aimed at recalling him.

Melaye in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/587/2017 described the recall petitions as fictitious.

Melaye, through his suit, urged the court to declare the petitions submitted to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, as “illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, invalid, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”

He also asked the court to void the recall process on the grounds that it was commenced in breach of his fundamental right to fair hearing.

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