Court of appeal gives nod to Senator Melaye’s recall process
The Court of Appeal, yesterday, dismissed an appeal instituted by the senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, against the process of his recall initiated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Abuja Division of the appellate court, with the unanimous decision of its three-man panel of Justices, paved the way for INEC to proceed with the earlier stalled recall process since June 23, last year due to the institution of the suit by Melaye.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of an Abuja Federal High Court had earlier, in a judgment, given its nod to INEC to proceed with the recall process.The lower court ruled that contrary to Melaye’s contention, the 90 days provided by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) for the recall process to be concluded had not been exhausted, but had been on hold since July 6, last year, when Justice Tsoho of the Federal High Court made an order halting the process.
Justice Dimgba, to whom the case was later reassigned, had in his judgment delivered on September 11, last year, dismissed Melaye’s suit, but gave a pre-condition for INEC to continue with the recall exercise, which is that the electoral body should serve the senator with the recall petition and the accompanying documents, including the signatures of the about one-half of the constituents calling for his recall.
However, Melaye filed an appeal before the appellate court to challenge the validity of the recall process.With the dismissal of the suit, yesterday, Justice Tunde Awotoye affirmed the judgment of Justice Dimgba, but held that the Federal High Court ought not to have heard the case, as the suit did not disclose any cause of action against INEC.
The court also dismissed the allegation of denial of fair hearing leveled against INEC by Melaye, adding that the powers of INEC to conduct a recall process was given by the constitution and such could not be taken away even by the court.
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