The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, over the court order stopping it from continuing with the recall process of Senator Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West).
INEC national commissioner, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, said in a statement on Saturday that the commission decided to draw the CJN’s attention to the order in order to prevent a precedent that could prevent the Commission from carrying out its responsibility in the future.
Ibeanu said if the current order is allowed, it would put the Commission in a dangerous position to pursue a similar process involving any other individual as such a person could go to court to frustrate the process.
The Commission, he said, took the decision to obey the court which directed status quo to await the determination of the motion on notice filed by the Counsel to Melaye, Mike Ozekhome, (SAN), in order not to be seen to be disobeying valid 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 organisation 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 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 on 21st June 2017 for the exercise to be completed.
He denied media reports that the Commission halted the process of the recall of Melaye as a result of the decision of the Senate to probe the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), where the INEC chairman, Mahmud Yakubu, was executive secretary from 2007 to 2012.
Ibeanu described the reports linking the suspension of the recall process to the Senate decision to probe contract scam in TETFUND as “totally incorrect and mischievous.”
He restated the determination of the commission to carry out its constitutional responsibility without fear or favour.topics from