The odds are stacked against Senator Dino Melaye, after his legal manoeuvres to stop his recall yielded no fruit, as the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC) yesterday said it is going ahead with the timetable for his recall because it has not been served any court ruling or process.
Barring any last minute legal drama, the recall process is expected to start on Monday.
Justice John Tsoho of Abuja Federal High Court, Abuja had on Thursday rejected Melaye’s ex-parte motion for an injunction restraining INEC from proceeding with the recall exercise.
Rather the judge merely asked the parties to maintain the status quo pending the hearing of the Motion on Notice.
A top INEC official told The Nation Friday evening that the recall process will go ahead.
The source said: “As at the close of work, we were not served any order, ruling or a process from the Federal High Court.
“Even if we had received any order from the court, our legal unit will still advise us on what the status quo means. We cannot act in vacuum.
“Certainly, we are adhering to our timetable on the recall process. We are going ahead from Monday.
“Any time we get a court order to stop the process, we will comply immediately.”
The timetable released by the INEC for Melaye’s recall process will run from July 10 to August 19.
The notice, dated July 3 partly read, “In exercise of the powers conferred on the Independent National Electoral Commission (“the Commission”) by Sections 69 and 110 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); Section 116 of the Electoral Act 2010(as amended) and of all the powers enabling it in that behalf, the Commission hereby issues this timetable schedule of activities for the recall of the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Kogi State.”
The details of the timetable are as follows:
- Notice of Verification (July 10). To be posted at the constituency (INEC LGA Office, Lokoja).
- Last day for submission of application by interested observers ( July 31). INEC headquarters.
- Last day for submission of names of verification agents for the member sought to be recalled and the petitioners (August10). By a letter addressed and submitted to the Resident Electoral Commission (REC) indicating the polling unit verification agents arranged by LGAs as well as collation agents and where they will serve.
- Stakeholders meeting ( August 15). INEC State Office.
- Conduct of Verification (August19). To be held in the polling units in the constituency.
“The commission shall issue the timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of referendum subject to the outcome of the verification exercise.”
Watchers believe that Mr. Melaye had sought to use the court to delay and possibly frustrated the attempt by his Kogi West constituents to recall him.
The Senator alleges that his recall is a political witch-hunt orchestrated by Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello. Melaye said that the signatures for his recall were compiled in Government House Lokoja and contained names of dead people.