The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it would wait for the decision of the appellate court on the recall process of Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West Senatorial District).
In a press statement on Tuesday signed by National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee Solomon A. Soyebi, the commission said it would follow due process in its activities toward the recall of the senator, affirming that it has not chickened out of the recall process.
Mr. Soyebi noted that in the commission’s amended Timetable and Schedule of Activities, the notice for verification was to have been issued on Tuesday.
He stated the amendment of the timetable was made pursuant to the order of the Federal High Court Abuja which, in the suit filed by Senator Melaye to stop the process, dismissed the Senator‘s action but ordered INEC to serve him personally at least two weeks to the commencement of the exercise to enable him prepare adequately for the verification.
“All attempts to serve the Senator have been futile as he has made himself unviable,” the commissioner said. “The Bailiff of the High Court accompanied by INEC officials have visited the office of the Senator at the National Assembly and his residence on six occasions but found the office locked, while they were not able to gain access to him at his residence. 0n resumption of the Senate after its recess, the Senator refused to accept service of the documents. This was in the presence of several journalists and was widely reported.”
Mr. Soyebi stated that the commission then approached the court for substituted service but was directed to make further attempts to serve the Senator but when those failed, INEC returned to the court to pursue the request for substituted service but that it declined jurisdiction in view of the appeal by the Senator in the Court of Appeal.
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
He reiterated the commission’s determination to faithfully discharge all its constitutional and statutory duties and responsibilities, adding that it would not only be guided by the constitutional and statutory provisions, but also by the interpretations given by the courts.
“INEC does not have any interest whatsoever in the outcome of the Kogi West petition for recall,” Mr. Soyebi stressed. “Its interest is limited to ensuring all electoral activities are undertaken in line with due process and without fear or favor. The Commission owes this duty to all Nigerians and is prepared to proceed in earnest once all legal issues are resolved.”