Senator Dino Melaye’s application challenging moves by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to effect his recall was on Monday dismissed by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court for lack of merit.
“The electorate voted the legislator into office; they gifted him with the office, they also have the powers to take away that which have been given,” the judge said.
The judge dismissed Melaye’s complaints that he was not given fair hearing by his constituents before the recall petition was forwarded to INEC. Dimgba said the constituents do not have a duty to serve Melaye a copy of the petition.
He said Melaye has the opportunity to campaign to the electorate before the referendum to sell his achievements to them according to the 90 days time table and schedule of activities set by INEC as set out in Section 69 of the Constitution.
The judge dismissed Melaye’s claim that the petition emanated from malice, bad faith, vendetta and against the natural justice.
He also dismissed the senator’s assertion that the 188, 000 signatories to the petition contained those of “non-existent, dead and forged”, stressing that the complaint was hasty since he has not exhausted the INEC verification process for the signatories.
The judge described Melaye’s complaint that officials of the electoral umpire ought to swear to an oath of neutrality as “premature” since it is not certain that a recall election will hold.
The judge however ordered INEC to serve Melaye the recall petition, schedule of signatures attached to the recall petition and full list of all persons in support of the recall process as contained in jute bags before the verification exercise.