The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed an appeal by Senator Dino Melaye against a judgment of the Federal High Court, confirming the power of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to commence a recall process without first referring to him.
In a judgment on Friday, a three-man panel of the Appeal Court held that the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to have heard Melaye’s suit querying the recall process by INEC.
Shortly after INEC released its order of procedure for Melaye’s recall process late last year, Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court (FHC) granted an ex-parte order in favour of Melaye stopping INEC from carrying through the process.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba (also of the FHC), who eventually determined the fundamental rights suit by Melaye, in which he claimed to have been denied fair hearing, held that INEC could conduct the recall process without hearing from Melaye.
Justice Dimgba however order INEC to provide Melaye with the petition for his recall written by some electorate in his Kogi West Senatorial Constituency to enable him familiarise himself with issues raised against him in the petition.
Melaye later appealed the decision and argued among others, that the 90 days allowed for INEC to conduct the recall process had lapsed.
Justice T. O. Awotoye, who read the lead judgment of the Court of Appeal, said the FHC ought not to have heard Melaye’s fundamental rights suit in the first place, because “there was no cause of action.”
The Appeal Court said the 90 days required for the recall process has not lapsed in the Melaye case.