Melaye appeals court judgment to continue his recall process

Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye in Wednesday filed an appeal, challenging an order to continue the process of his recall from the National Assembly.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court had directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to continue the process in his ruling on Monday.

He asked INEC to proceed with the exercise of verifying the signatures of the 188,588 registered voters who were said to have said signed in support of the recall process.

Melaye, through his lawyer, Mike Ezekhome in his first round of appeal argued that Dimgba erred in law “when he held that the petition presented to INEC” for his recall “was valid, even when the petition exhibited by INEC was not signed by more than half of the registered voters in the plaintiff’s appellant’s constituency as is required by Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution.”

He said the petition submitted to the court by INEC was signed by only three persons, instead of half of the voters.

He also maintained that “a mere statistical analysis and general summary for the recall of Senator Dino Melaye (Exhibit DM13) done by INEC itself and wholly relied upon by the trial court to hold that the petition was valid, can neither replace nor take the place of the petition itself, which was tendered by INEC as an exhibit.”

In the second grounds of appeal, the appellant held that the trial judge erred in law “when he held that the 90 days provided for by Section 69 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as altered, was paused since June 23, 2017, when the plaintiff/appellant commenced this action and subsequently ordered that the period would continue to run from September 11, 2017, the date of the judgment of the trial court” was delivered.

“Elongating or extending the time as fixed by the constitution requires constitutional amendment and not at the whims and caprices of a trial court,” the appellant added.

He also argued in another grounds of appeal that Justice Dimgba was wrong “by failing to consider the Notice to Produce issued on INEC to produce the petition for the recall of the plaintiff/ appellant and not invoking the provisions of Section 167(d) of the Evidence Act, in the face of failure of the INEC to produce the purported petition allegedly signed by the plaintiff’s/appellant’s constituents despite service of a notice to produce on it.”

He added that INEC failed to produce the petition signed by more than half of the voters, despite serving it a notice.

He added, “Notwithstanding the Notice to Produce, INEC failed, refused and neglected to produce the said petition before the court.

“The court failed to invoke the provisions of Section 167(d) of the Evidence Act to the effect that failure by INEC to produce the said petition meant that such petition, if it were produced, would have been adverse to the interest of lNEC.”

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