INEC, you’re wasting your time over Dino Melaye’s recall – Senate; Only legitimate court order can stop Dino’s recall process – INEC . . .
In a resolution passed by the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday, the red chamber described the recall moves of Sen. Dino Melaye (Kogi West) by the INEC as an exercise in futility that will become a waste of time and resources of the state. According to the Senate, INEC is aware of relevant sections of the constitution that the cumbersome process of recall must follow.
The Senate unanimously noted that the various stages passed so far in the recall move, as facilitated by the electoral umpire, were not in line with laid down constitutional procedures and guidelines. Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a point of order raised against the recall move by Senator Dino Melaye himself.
It remains to be seen whether a mere resolution (achieved by voice vote) on the floor of the Senate, engineered for lawmakers to identify with the political and personal travails of their colleague in distress, will suffice to halt a constitutionally provided procedure of recall of an alleged erring or non-performing lawmaker in Nigeria. Whether INEC is following the constitutionally provided guidelines is left to conjecture – as the KOGI West constituents and indeed many Nigerians, observe the unfolding scenario.
INEC on Tuesday said only a legitimate court order could stop the recall process of Sen. Dino Melaye (Kogi West) as demanded by his Kogi West constituents. Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the INEC, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr. Oyekanmi said that filing a lawsuit was not enough to stop the recall process. INEC had on Monday released the schedule of activities and timetable for the recall of Sen. Melaye, with August 19 fixed for verification of signatures of petitioners demanding his recall from the Nigerian Senate.
However, various suits have been instituted in courts to stop the recall process which is presently and slowly getting to its grand finale. The cases include those by Melaye and Concerned Kogi Registered Voters, filed separately at a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order to halt INEC from conducting the verification of signatures and the recall.
From Mr. Oyekanmi’s statement, the actions of INEC appears to be guided by the provisions of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended), and the Electoral Act.
The INEC statement reads, inter alia:
“The constituents came with sacks of documents which they said were `the signatures’ of more than half of the voting population of Kogi West Senatorial District, which Melaye represents. They also presented a register of the said signatories and a letter, asking INEC to begin the process of recalling the senator representing that particular district.
Subsequently, the commission, in exercise of the powers conferred on it by Sections 116 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), on Monday issued a timetable and schedule of activities for the recall of the senator. The first stage is a verification exercise slated for July 10, 2017. To that extent, filing a lawsuit is not enough to stop INEC from carrying out its legitimate duty.
Only a legitimate court order or an injunction can be considered by the commission.
The commission will adopt its normal way of conducting the verification exercise, which will be applicable to both the literate and not-so-literate. If the verification fails to meet the established standards, the commission will not proceed to the next stage. The recall process automatically terminates there.”
– Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC