Melaye heads to Supreme Court to stop INEC recall bid

The Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, has urged the Supreme Court to declare the petitions submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission seeking his recall as illegal.

The senator in an appeal he filed against the March 16, 2018 judgment of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, also urged the apex court to declare the recall process as illegal.

Melaye had on Tuesday filed seven grounds notice of appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal which had dismissed his suit instituted before the Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge the validity of the process of his recall which commenced in June last year.

The Court of Appeal had in its March 16, 2018, judgment held that contrary to Melaye’s contention, the 90 days provided by the 1999 Constitution for the recall process to be concluded had not run out but had been paused since June 23, 2017 when he commenced the suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja.

With the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the suit, the preconditions earlier given by the Federal High Court in Abuja for INEC to fulfill before continuing the recall were set aside.

The appeal court’s judgment therefore paved the way for INEC to continue the recall process which had been stalled by Melaye’s suit.

Following the Court of Appeal’s judgment, INEC had announced that the recall process would resume on April 28.

But on Tuesday, Melaye, through his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), filed his appeal against the judgment, contending that the three Justices of the Court of Appeal who delivered the unanimous judgment dismissing his suit erred in law.

Also on Wednesday, the senator filed a motion before the Court of Appeal seeking the stay of execution of the court’s judgment. In his notice of appeal, apart from seeking the Supreme Court’s order allowing his appeal, he also urged the apex court to, among others, ”declare the petition purportedly presented to INEC for the recall of the plaintiff/ appellant as illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, invalid, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

He urged the court to, “declare the recall processes purportedly initiated against the plaintiff by INEC on the basis of the petition for the recall of the plaintiff/appellant, as illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever, same having been commenced and conducted on the basis of an invalid petition;

“Declare that the 90 days period as provided for in section 69(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999, as altered, having elapsed by effluxion of time on September 23, 2017, the 1st respondent (INEC) can no longer validly proceed on the basis of the purported petition for the recall of the appellant presented to it on June 23, 2017.”

Melaye also urged the court to “grant an order of perpetual injunction restraining the lst defendant/respondent whether, by itself, staff, employees, agents, servants and or privies howsoever called, from commencing or further continuing with the process of acting on the purported petition presented to it by the purported constituents of the plaintiff against the plaintiff.”

Meanwhile, Ozekhome, Melaye’s lead counsel, had on Wednesday written to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, requesting the commission to respect “the sanctity” of the ongoing legal action by halting further steps regarding the recall process.

The letter dated April 4, 2018, also had the same date on the acknowledgment stamp of the office of the INEC chairman embossed on the copy of the letter e-mailed to journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

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