The embattled lawmaker representing the Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, has said the 90-day deadline set for the Independent National Electoral Commission by Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) for his recall has expired.
Melaye also alleged that it was only after several attempts at his life had failed that “they resorted to this sham process of recall.
“I celebrate the obituary of the ‘Made in Taiwan’ recall exercise, while sympathising with the induced petitioners, who will obviously face charges of forgery and other criminal charges before a court of law very, very soon,” the lawmaker said this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.
He added, “I have been inundated with calls by my constituents, friends, political allies and members of the general public ever since the expiration of the 90 days period as provided for by the Nigerian constitution for INEC to conclude the process of the recall by conducting the referendum.
“It is therefore crystal clear that by the provisions of Section 69(b) of the 1999 Constitution, INEC must act on the petition purportedly presented to it on the 23rd of June, 2017, by conducting the referendum within 90 days of the receipt of the petition. In this case, INEC received the petition on the 23rd day of June, 2017.
“The 90 days period, as provided for in the constitution for conducting the referendum elapsed on the 23rd day of September, 2017.
“The time, as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having elapsed by effluxion of time, I, Senator Dino Melaye, cannot and shall not under any circumstance, aid and abet INEC to further desecrate and infringe on the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which I have sworn to defend.”
The senator stated that it was in that spirit that he deemed it necessary to address the press to highlight his points, one of which was that “in view of the lapse of time, I shall no longer be in a haste to take any further step in this matter so as not to be seen to have aided any party, especially INEC, in the continued blatant breach of the provisions of the constitution which I have sworn to uphold.”
Melaye recalled that, “On the 23rd day of June, 2017, certain persons claiming to be my constituents purportedly submitted a petition to the Independent National Electoral Commission on the grounds that they have lost confidence in me. It would interest you to know that the major grounds for the alleged loss of confidence in me, was that I was constantly speaking against the Governor of Kogi State, (Yahaya Bello), for his high-handedness in the administration of the state.”
Melaye further recalled that he instructed his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), to file an action in court challenging the entire process on several grounds, while the processes were served on INEC on June 28, 2017, “whereas INEC eventually filed its defence to the said originating processes one whole month after the service of the originating processes on it.”
The lawmaker said despite INEC’s failure to file defence to the court processes, “they suddenly woke up after a court had granted an order directing them to maintain status quo pending the hearing of the originating summons. They rushed to court, filed several applications, inclusive of an application before a brother vacation judge in the Federal High Court, asking him to interfere with the discretionary powers of another brother judge, who had already ordered that status quo be maintained.”
Melaye added, “I was reliably informed by my lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, that it is an elementary principle of law that a court of coordinate jurisdiction cannot sit on appeal over a judgment or order of a brother judge. It was at this point that I personally felt that it is either the INEC’s lawyers are not well versed in law or that they are exhibiting unusual desperation in their avowed determination to unseat me from the National Assembly, under the close guidance of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Senator Smart Adeyemi (his predecessor).”
Melaye said while the FHC had since delivered its judgment and he had instructed Ozekhome to file an appeal against the judgment, there were still “socio-political issues.”