The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has shunned a court order, asking it to maintain the status-quo, and gone ahead with the process to recall the senator representing Kogi West in the Nigeria Senate, Dino Melaye by pasting the notice of the verification of his recall on Monday at its state office in Lokoja, Kogi State. Mr Melaye is from that state.
Lawyers representing Senator Dino Melaye on Monday confirmed they had served the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with an order restraining it from continuing with his recall process. And INEC also confirmed receipt of the said order through its Chief Press Secretary to INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi.
But the National Commissioner of INEC in charge of North-Central, Mallam Mohammed Haruna said the commission decided to go ahead with the process based on precedents and judicial pronouncements, especially a 2001 decision of the Nigerian Court of Appeal, which helld that a court cannot stop the recall of a lawmaker or INEC from doing its statutory duty.
The pasted INEC “Notice of Verification” dated July 10, 2017 and signed by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the commission fixed August 19 for the verification. It read, “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.”
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.”
Melaye’s recall process will run from July 10 to August 19.
The notice, dated July 3rd, 2017, reads in part: “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 (10th July, 2017). To be posted at the constituency (INEC LGA office, Lokoja).
- Last day for submission of application by interested observers (31st July 2017). INEC headquarters.
- Last day for submission of names of verification agents for the member sought to be recalled and the petitioners (10th August 2017). 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 (15th August, 2017). INEC State Office.
- Conduct of Verification (19th August, 2017). 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.”