Lawyer and Human Rights activist, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, has aligned himself with the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which suspended the recalling of Senator Dino Melaye by his constituents.
Mr Keyamo said that INEC was duty-bound to suspend the process so long as an appeal had been filled by Mr. Melaye challenging the decision of a lower court.
“Normally, the law is that once a person is complaining about the decision of the court below at an appeal court, the law enjoins us to stay put,” he said.
“It means all parties should stay actions and not to foist a situation of a fait accompli on the court. So if INEC goes ahead with the recall and Dino wins at the Court of Appeal, what happens?
“The only thing is, the Appeal Court should be fast in handling such cases that are time-bound,” Keyamo added.
An Abuja High Court had authorised the electoral body to proceed with the recall but granted Melaye’s request to be first served personally.
But every effort of INEC to comply with the directive of the court by serving the senator with the recall documents were all evaded.
Instead, Mr. Melaye proceeded to the Appeal Court insisting that the mandatory 90-day period for a recall had expired, even though he was responsible for such delay with his unsuccessful litigation.
This forced INEC to halt the process, saying it was following the rule of law.
“As a result of Senator Dino Melaye’s refusal to accept service of the petition, the Commission has not been able to proceed with the process as earlier scheduled, as service has become a condition precedent to continuing with the exercise,” it said in a statement issued by one of its commissioners.
“It has therefore decided that in line with its usual practice and in reference to the rule of law, it will await the outcome of the decision of the Appeal filed by the Senator,” it added.
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