INEC Shuns Court Ruling, Continues Dino Melaye’s Recall Process

The Independent National Electoral Commission yesterday posted the notice of verification for the recall of the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial district, Dino Melaye, despite a court ruling ordering the electoral body to maintain “status quo.”

According to the notice posted at INEC’s office in Lokoja, Kogi State, the verification would hold across all polling units in the senatorial district on August 19.

As part of Melaye’s recall process, petitioners had submitted the details of 188,588 registered voters in Kogi West who signed the petition.

The 188,588 signatories to the petition fulfill one of the needs for the requirement that one-half of the number of registered voters in a constituency is needed for the recall of a lawmaker.

Kogi West has 360,098 registered voters. But Justice John Tsoho of a Federal High Court in Abuja had, on Friday, asked INEC and the lawmaker to maintain “status quo” pending the hearing of a motion filed by Melaye to seek an interlocutory injunction.

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

The lawmaker had accused Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State of masterminding the bid to have him recalled from the upper legislative chamber, an allegation the governor has denied.

Melaye in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/587/2017, described the recall petitions as “ctitious.”

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 rights to fair hearing.

The suit was filed along with an affidavit of urgency, urging the court to assign the case to a judge and be granted an accelerated hearing.

The next step after the verification is the conduct of a referendum; but INEC said the outcome of the verification exercise would determine if that would happen.

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