The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to vacate the interim order that stopped process for the recall of Senator Dino Melaye.
The commission, through its lawyer, Mr. Sulayman Ibrahim, queried the legal propriety of the restraining order that Justice John Tsoho of the high court issued against it on July 6. Justice Tsoho had ordered all the parties involved in the recall process to maintain their status quo until September 29 when the court will hear an originating summon Melaye filed to challenge his planned removal from the Senate.
The interim order followed an ex-parte motion Melaye lodged before the court through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN.
Meanwhile, determined to resume the recall process that was initially billed to commence on July 10, INEC, yesterday, filed two separate motions before the high court. In the first motion, the electoral commission, insisted that the status quo order by the court, greatly hindered it from carrying out its statutory function.
In a 16-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion on notice, INEC, contended that the court lacked the powers to stop it from initiating the recall process it said was one of its time bound duty under section 69 of the 1999 constitution, as amended.
Besides, the commission alleged that Melaye misrepresented and suppressed material facts and thereby misled the judge to issue an interim order of injunction in his favour.
INEC told the court that it had on June 21, received a petition dated June 19, seeking Melaye’s recall from the Senate. It said upon the receipt of the petition, it accordingly published a time table and schedule of activities for the recall process, in line with provisions of the law.
INEC decried that the court had by its restraining order, a copy of which it said was served on it on July 10, tied its hands. Similarly, INEC, through its second motion, prayed the court to order for accelerated hearing of the substantive suit.
It also urged the court to okay that the matter be heard and determined during the ongoing court vacation.
Meanwhile, Melaye, yesterday, persuaded the vacation judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, to grant him seven days to respond to INEC. Justice Dimgba adjourned hearing of the motions till July 27.