The Kogi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of desperation and bias in pursuing what it called a “purported recall” of Senator Dino Melaye from the Senate.
Senator Dino Melaye, who represents Kogi West senatorial district in the Senate, had earlier approached an Abuja Federal High Court to challenge his recall process by INEC, citing forgery of signatures of his constituents.
The party, in a statement by its Kogi State chairman of the party, Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, on Thursday exonerated Melaye from blame of resisting the recall process by suing INEC, adding the lawmaker was only exercising his rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.
Ametuo noted that the electoral umpire ought to have waited to authenticate the validity of the signatures submitted by the people who called themselves Melaye’s constituents before proceeding with the recall process.
The party chairman also added that the 90-day window prescribed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) can only be activated when the process is certified to proceed by the court, hence INEC has nothing to lose or fear.
“In the case of INEC Vs. Senator Dino Melaye, the Senator is challenging the legality or validity of the petition upon which INEC seeks to act upon. The very foundation upon which INEC seeks to build. The Senator’s action goes to the root or is a threshold issue which must first be determined before INEC can validly proceed with the process of the purported recall because it is jurisdictional in nature.
“INEC as unbiased umpire has in the case of Senator Dino Melaye exhibited desperation and vested interest in its bid to implement the purported recall of Sen. Dino Melaye. INEC is hinging its desperation to recall Senator Dino Melaye on the 90 days as provided for in Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as altered.
“This is a question or issue that should be determined by the courts. How do the pending legal action and interim injunction affect the 90 days as provided for in the Constitution? Could it be said that the 90 days can only be activated at the end of the litigation? These are questions that could be determined by the courts at the appropriate time.
“lNEC is not the petitioner in this case. INEC’s responsibility is only limited to verifying the authenticity of the signatories to the petition and conducting the referendum. Where the foundation is faulty there is nothing upon which INEC will build as one cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand.
“This desperation and show of vested interest as is currently being displayed by INEC also manifested itself in the process of verifying the signatures. It is shocking how INEC and its officials could have sat at the confines of their office in Abuja, and determine the authenticity of signatures purportedly signed by persons in Kogi West Senatorial District by merely comparing the signatures,” the party chairman said.