Legal fireworks in Abuja as Dino Melaye scrambles to halt recall from Senate

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Senator Dino Melaye: Now a lonely fighter in the wilderness?

 


*Media Poll favouring his recall rises

“This is the reason our elected public officers should know that no one is indispensable except God. So, if you really believe that your votes to public office, either as Senator, governor or President were not through fraud or bulk purchase but through constitutional powers of the people, before you do anything in that office, you must first consider the interest of the people who God used to employ you by their votes,” one of them told The DEFENDER.

The Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed Sept. 11 to deliver judgment in the suit filed by Senator Dino Melaye (APC- Kogi), challenging his planned recall by some voters in his constituency.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba fixed the September date after listening to arguments from all parties involved in the suit.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had commenced the process to recall Mr. Melaye, but the senator went to court, seeking stoppage of the process.

One of the grounds upon which Mr. Melaye, who represents Kogi West in the Senate, challenged his recall, was that the signatures of some of the voters in the petition for his recall were fictitious.

Mr. Melaye who argued his case through his counsel, Nkem Okoro, said majority of the signatures on the petition were dead people.

He added that death certificates were attached to the processes he filed as exhibits to ascertain the veracity of his claim that some of the signatories were deceased.

He further alleged that he was denied fair hearing by both his constituents and INEC.

“The petitioners ought to have informed Mr. Melaye of the facts and circumstances upon which the alleged loss of confidence was based prior to submission of the petition to INEC.

“INEC upon receipt of the said petition only served Melaye a mere notice that it had received a petition for his recall. So we are challenging INEC’s action.

“They should have shown a copy of the petition to Melaye and failure to do so amounts to denial of fair hearing and a violation of the laws of natural justice.”

Mr. Okoro also said his client was challenging the validity of the said petition on the grounds that the petition was based on political animosity, malice and bad faith.

He urged the court to grant the prayers of his motion and stop INEC from going ahead with the planned recall.

Counsel to the other plaintiffs in the matter said they aligned themselves with the arguments of Mr. Okoro.

Counsel to INEC, Anthony Adeniyi, on his part, said Mr. Melaye had failed to show the court the particular signatories on the petition to which the death certificates attached as exhibit belonged.

“If he attached death certificates, he should tell the court that this certificate for example, belongs to signature number 24 on the petition, but he failed to do that.”

Justice Dimgba adjourned the matter until Sept. 11 for judgment.

The judge also fixed Sept.11 to deliver judgment in a suit filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC), also seeking to stop Melaye’s recall.

The judge consolidated the two suits to avoid having conflicting judgments since the subject of both suits were similar. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was quoted by Premium Times to have reported.

In the meantime, the poll running on the website of The DEFENDER rose to 29 as at press time with 93 percent representing 27 votes saying recall of Senator Dino Melaye by INEC was right, while only three percent reoresenting two votes say it is not right.

Some of the respondents who spoke on the suit by Melaye challenging the rights of his constituents to recall him when necessary wanted to see no the Senator would escape this constitutional action of his people “be it through politicking or judiciary”.

“This is the reason our elected public officers should know that no one is indispensable except God. So, if you really believe that your votes to public office, either as Senator, governor or President were not through fraud or bulk purchase but through constitutional powers of the people, before you do anything in that office, you must first consider the interest of the people who God used to employ you by their votes,” one of them said.

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