A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday dismissed the suit by Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, challenging the validity of the process of recalling him by his constituents.
The judgment terminated the earlier ex parte order made by another judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice John Tsoho, on July 6, 2017, directing parties to maintain status quo.
Justice Dimgba, to whom the case was reassigned, ordered that the process shall only proceed with the recall process, subject to the service of the petition, the full list and signatures of persons in support of the recall process.
Justice Dimgba in his ruling said contrary to the arguments of Melaye that he was not granted fair hearing, the constitution does not require a special provision that mandates INEC to grant the senator an opportunity of fair hearing.
The judge described Melaye’s suit as hasty, premature and presumptuous as the INEC had already scheduled the exercise for the verification of the authenticity of the signatures in support of the petition being complained about by Melaye.
Justice Dimgba also admitted that although the Constitution did not expressly provide that the 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.
The judge also dismissed the argument that the the number signatures did not meet the threshold stipulated in the Constitution.
He insisted that on the face of the statistical analysis accompanying the suit, the number of signatures 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.
The court then ruled that INEC provides Melaye with the recall petition, schedule of signatures attached to the petitions and a full list of persons in support of the recall process, within two weeks before an amended time table for the recall would be made.