The Independent National Electoral Commission has said it will halt the process of recalling the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial district, Mr. Dino Melaye, in compliance with a court directive.
The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of the Committee on Information and Voter Education, Adedeji Soyebi, said in a statement on Thursday that while the commission would obey the court order, it would make efforts to ensure an immediate vacation of the order.
Soyebi said that there was a constitutional provision that set a 90-day period for the order from the date of its presentation for the exercise to be concluded.
He stated further that the commission had also called the attention of the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to the order because of its effect on the performance of the commission’s duty conduct the ongoing recall exercise on Melaye.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission held its regular weekly meeting today and considered the order given by the Federal High Court, Abuja dated 6th July 2017 directing the “parties to maintain the status quo till the determination of the plaintiff’s motion on notice,” in respect of the suit filed by Senator Dino Melaye, seeking orders of injunction against the Commission, to stop it from acting on the petition by the registered voters of Kogi West Senatorial district.
“As a responsible, law-abiding institution, INEC will comply with the order. However, the Commission has also decided to take immediate steps to vacate the court order and for the matter to be heard and determined expeditiously.
“Whereas, 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 (21st June 2017) for the exercise to be completed.
“The Commission further decided to draw the attention of the Chief Justice of Nigeria to the order in view of its effect on the performance of the Commission’s constitutional duty to conduct the referendum for the recall in Kogi West Senatorial district.”
He stated further that the commission also approved a policy of a comprehensive audit after elections.
He said that the decision was in line with the commission’s commitment to ensure transparency and an improved electoral process.