BREAKING: Court Dismisses Dino Melaye’s Suit, Asks INEC To Continue Recall Process
A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed the application by Senator Dino Melaye challenging moves by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to effect his recall.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on Monday held that all the complaints made by Melaye lack merit and deserve to be dismissed.
On the complain of lack of fair hearing by the constituents before forwarding the recall petition to INEC, the judge said it lacks merit and dismissed it.
Justice Dimgba ruled that the recall process is a political question, which is beyond the court to deal with.
He said the constituents have no duty to serve the legislator a copy of the recall petition.
He said Melaye has the opportunity to campaign to the electorate before the referendum to sell his achievements to them according to the 90 days time table and schedule of activities set by INEC as set out in Section 69 of the Constitution.
"The electorate voted the legislator into office; they gifted him with the office, they also have the powers to take away that which have been given," he said.
The judge dismissed Melaye's claim that the petition emanated from malice, bad faith, vendetta and against the natural justice.
He also dismissed the senator's assertion that the 188, 000 signatories to the petition contained those of non-existent, dead and forged", stressing that the complain was hasty since he has not exhausted the INEC verification process for the signatories.
The judge described Melaye's complain that officials of the electoral umpire ought to swear to an oath of neutrality as "premature" since it is not certain that a recall election will hold.
The judge however ordered INEC to serve Melaye the recall petition, schedule of signatures attached to the recall petition and full list of all persons in support of the recall process as contained in jute bags before the verification exercise.
In an unprecedented exercise, voters in Kogi West Senatorial District signed a petition for Mr. Melaye’s recall on June 10.
The collated signatures were submitted to INEC on June 20 with the electoral body notifying the senator on June 21.
Melaye had hitherto said he was not threatened by the process, mocking those behind it and highlighting the cumbersome nature of constitutional requirements for recall.