INEC petitions CJN over court order halting Melaye’s recall process

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has reached out to the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria over the Court order issued by the Abuja High Court stopping the commission from continuing with the recall process of the Senate representative of the Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Dino Melaye.

In a statement released on Saturday by the INEC National Commissioner, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu. The commission has drawn the attention of the CJN to the order issued, and that such order could prevent the commission from carrying out its responsibility in the future if such scenario occurs.

Prof. Ibeanu said the commission obeyed the court which directed the status quo to await the determination of the motion filed by Mike Ozekhome (SAN), in order not to be portrayed as flaunting Court orders.

“Deeply concerned by this situation, the commission at its weekly regular meeting held on 13th July 2017, considered the court order and its implication for the Commission’s ability to carry out its constitutional function regarding the petition to recall the Senator.

“After weighing all the options, the commission decided that as a responsible organization and in line with its longstanding tradition, it should not be seen as disobeying a court order, however inappropriate it may consider the order.

“However, in this particular case, the Commission also decided to take immediate steps to vacate the court order and for the matter to be heard and determined expeditiously. This is because the court adjourned the hearing of the Motion on Notice to 29th September 2017.

“It should be noted that Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) sets a limit of 90 days from the date of the presentation of the petition (21st June 2017) for the exercise to be completed.

The INEC National Commissioner, Prof. Ibeanu denied media report saying the process was halted because the Senate’s decision to probe the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, where the INEC Chairman, Mahmud Yakubu, was the executive Secretary between 2007 and 2012.

He described the report as “totally incorrect and mischievous.”

He added that the decision to commence the recall process on Senator Melaye was in line with the response to a request by voters of Kogi West Senatorial District.

“The decision of the commission to obey the court order, pursue its timeouts vacation and lay a complaint about the nature of the Federal High Court order to the Chief Justice of the Federation cannot, in any way, mean a secession of the process of recall of the Senator, which has already commenced.”

He restated the determination of the commission to carry out its constitutional responsibility without fear or favor.

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