The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday did a U-turn on the recall process of the senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye. INEC, in a statement yesterday, said it would comply with the court order halting the recall process.
The commission, however, vowed to vacate the order and at the same time, drew the attention of the chief justice to the court order stopping it from conducting the referendum for the recall process.
A Federal High Court, Abuja had directed the parties on the recall issue to maintain the status quo till the determination of the motion on notice challenging the recall process.
INEC had notified Melaye of receipt of a petition for his recall, which prompted the senator to approach the court seeking an injunction against the commission, which he got.
But the commission went ahead with the process by announcing a timetable for the recall process.
INEC yesterday, after its weekly meeting, said it would halt the process as ordered by the court.
Announcing the commission’s decision through a statement, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Prince Adedeji Soyebi, stated that the commission was going to vacate the court order.
Besides, he stated that INEC was going to draw the attention of the chief justice to the order in view of its effect on the performance of the commission’s constitutional duty.
The statement reads: “The INEC held its regular weekly meeting today and considered the order given by the Federal High Court, Abuja dated July 6, 2017, directing the “parties to maintain the status quo till the determination of the plaintiff’s motion on notice,” in respect of the suit filed by Senator Dino Melaye, seeking orders of injunction against the commission, to stop it from acting on the petition by the registered voters of Kogi West Senatorial District.
“As a responsible, law-abiding institution, INEC will comply with the order. However, the commission has also decided to take immediate steps to vacate the court order and for the matter to be heard and determined expeditiously. Whereas, the court adjourned hearing of the Motion on Notice to September 29,2017, 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 (June 21, 2017) for the exercise to be completed.
“The commission further decided to draw the attention of the Chief Justice of Nigeria to the order in view of its effect on the performance of the commission’s constitutional duty to conduct the referendum for the recall in Kogi West.”
The meeting, Soyebi said, “approved a policy of comprehensive audit after all elections. This is in line with its commitment of ensuring transparency and overall improvement of the electoral process”