By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Kogi State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Tuesday, approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from activating process for the recall of Senator Dino Melaye.
Aside APC, other plaintiffs behind the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/601/2017, are Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, Hon. Shaibu Osune, S.T Adejo, Comrade Yahaya Ade Ismail, Chief Gbenga Ashagun, Ahovi S. Ibrahim, Ghali ND Usman, Isa Abubakar, I. Molemodile, Abubakr M. Adamu and Daniel Sekpe.
INEC had announced that it would kick-start the recall process on July 10, having earlier received petition and signatures that were collated by Melaye’s constituents.
Melaye had in a bid to save his seat equally lodged a suit before the court, contending that the petition presented to INEC for his recall was illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, invalid, null and void and of no effect in law.
He prayed the court to declare that the petition purportedly forwarded to INEC was invalid and of no effect, the same being signed by fictitious, dead and none existing persons in his senatorial district.
Similarly, in the instant suit, the plaintiffs, through their counsel, Mr. Solomon T. Ologunorisa, SAN, want the court to also declare that the petition presented to INEC Chairman for Melaye to be recalled, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful and of no effect whatsoever.
Specifically, Kogi APC asked the court to declare that the recall process initiated vide a purported petition against their sponsored member of the Senate by some of his constituents, pursuant to Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution, is illegal, unlawful and of no effect whatsoever for being contrary and in contravention to the rules of natural justice and constitutionally guaranteed right to fair hearing under section 36 of the 1999 constitution.
The plaintiffs sought for a court injunction restraining INEC from commencing the process of recall of Melaye who they sponsored into the Senate.
Besides, they applied for an order of injunction restraining INEC from acting on the purported petition presented to it by some constituents of the plaintiffs’ sponsored member representing Kogi West Senatorial District.
As well as for an order stopping INEC from conducting any referendum based on the purported petition allegedly presented and signed by dead, fictitious and purported constituents of the plaintiffs sponsored member of the Senate for an incompetent and fundamentally defective petition.
In their Originating Summons, the litigants urged the court to determine whether upon a proper interpretation of the provisions of Section 65(2) (b), 68(1) (g) and 69 of the 1999 Constitution, the 1st plaintiff’s sponsored member Senator Dino Melaye to the Senate is not entitled to a fair hearing before the process of his recall as contemplated by the provisions of the aforesaid section 69 of the 1999 constitution.
To determine whether by the provisions of Sections 68 and 69 of the 1999 constitution, Melaye , the plaintiff’s party’s sponsored member to the Senate can be validly recalled from the Senate upon an invalid petition presented to the chairman of INEC.
Likewise to determine whether having regard to the provisions of section 69 of the 1999 constitution, INEC can commence validly the process of conducting referendum for the recall of the plaintiff’s member from the Senate in the absence of a valid and competent petition on the ground that the purported signatories to the alleged petition are either dead, fictitious, nonexistent persons from outside the Kogi West senatorial constituency.
Meantime, no date has been fixed for hearing of the suit which is yet to be assigned to any judge.