- Gang up against me will fail, says senator
By Alex Enumah in Abuja and Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday gave the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) permission to go ahead with its planned recall of Senator Dino Melaye.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba gave the go ahead after dismissing Melayeâ€™sÂ suit that sought to stop his recall by INEC, following a petition received from the people of Kogi West Federal Constituency, whom Melaye represents in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
Justice Dimgba dismissed the suit on the grounds that it lacked merit, adding that it was hasty and premature since Melaye failed to exhaust all internal mechanisms provided by the 1999 Constitution before rushing to court.
The judge however, ordered INEC to forward a copy of the said petition it received from Melayeâ€™s constituency, signatories, including the full list of petitioners to Melaye.
This according to Dimgba, is to address issues relating to fair hearing cited by the plaintiff.
In dismissing all the complaints raised by Melaye for lacking merit and substance, the court held that contrary to Melayeâ€™s claim, there was no provision in section 69 of the Constitution that required his constituents to accord him fair hearing before sending such petition to INEC.
Dimgba, although noted that the constitution did not expressly provide that INEC must serve the affected legislator with the petition and the accompanying documents, it was required in the spirit of fair hearing so that the legislator could be equipped to fight the recall.
â€œHe must first go into the verification exercise and only when he does not get justice that he can come to court,â€ the judge held.
It also held that from the document before it, INEC met the required number of signatories needed to commence the recall process of Melaye.
â€œFrom the statistical analysis accompanying the suit, the number of signaturesÂ to kick-start the recall process in the Kogi West senatorial district was 188,588 out of the 360,100 registered voters in the district, had been met,â€ he said.
While reacting to the judgment, Melaye said the combined efforts of the Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, INEC, top federal government officials and top security agents to stampede him out of the Senate against the will of his constituents wouldÂ fail woefully.Â
The senator added: â€œHe who is with me from above is greater than all of them put together.Â I will not stop speaking the truth to the authorities. Kogi State government must pay workersâ€™ salaries and pay pensioners.
â€œMy great people of Kogi West senatorial district, in the face of obvious persecution and appealable judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, let not your heart be troubled.Â â€œLies will never overtake or conquer truth.Â The presence of the Kogi State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in court today over a matter that Kogi State is not joined as a party shows the clear collaborative efforts of INEC and the state government.Â We cannot all sleep facing one side of the bed. We shall overcome this temporary shenanigans in the long run.
â€œWe will neither sleep nor slumber on this. I use this opportunity to thank my dear constituents for their abiding love for and confidence shown towards me.Â â€œGod bless you all,â€ he said.