Nnamdi Dimgba, a Justice of the federal high court Abuja, has dismissed the application filed by Dino Melaye, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, challenging his recall process, which was commenced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The judge ordered INEC to go ahead with process, saying that the 90-day constitutional timeline for recalling a federal legislator, which had been paused when Melaye first filed the application on June 23, will start counting from Monday.
On July 6, 2017, John Tsoho, another Justice of the federal high court Abuja, had issued an exparte order directing all parties to maintain status quo.
On Monday, however, Justice Dimgba, to whom the case was reassigned, ruled that the recall process should be restarted and Melaye served the petition from his constituents, as well as the full list and signatures of persons in support of the recall process.
Dimgba directed INEC to issue another timetable for the process, one which will afford Melaye at least two weeks to enable him prepare his defence against the recall process.
He noted that there was no provision in Section 69 of the Constitution requiring Melaye’s constituents to afford him fair hearing before sending a petition of recall to INEC.
He also described Melaye’s suit as “hasty, premature and presumptuous” given that INEC had already scheduled a verification exercise to authenticate the signatures that accompanied the recall petition.
“He must first go into the verification exercise and only when he does not get justice that he can come to court,” Dimgba said.
Melaye had said that the so-called recall petition from his constituents contained signatures of people who had died long ago.
He has insisted that the process was a “comedy of errors” being orchestrated by Yahaya Bello, the Kogi State Governor with whom he does not see eye to eye.