By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, alleged of a plot to frustrate process for the recall of Senator Dino Melaye.
The allegation came on a day the Federal High Court in Abuja adjourned hearing on the suit Melaye filed to challenge his recall, till August 7.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba said he was minded to hear the matter within the court’s vacation, owing to “the constitutional pillar upon which the application was hoisted.”
The judge stressed that the court has a responsibility to exercise its discretionary powers in deciding the matter judicially and judiciously.
Meanwhile, two sets of applicants, yesterday, applied to be joined as interested parties in the suit.
INEC, which had through its lawyer, Mr. Sulayman Ibrahim, applied for expeditious hearing of the suit, expressed its displeasure over the application, which it described as a deliberate ploy to delay the recall process.
The commission told the court that under section 69(a) and (b) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, it has 90 days, starting from June 21, to conduct a referendum in line with the approved time table and schedule of action on the petition seeking Melaye’s recall.
It told the court that the recall process is time bound, adding that the 90 days period for the exercise will lapse on September 18.
“My lord, the 90 days is sacrosanct. It cannot be moved, even if the foundation of the petition is being questioned. INEC is under obligation to conduct the process,” Ibrahim added.
Whereas one Michael Olowolayemi, who identified himself as an electorate from Melaye’s Senatorial District, Kogi West, through his lawyer, Mr. Ponsak Biyan, applied to be joined as a co-plaintiff in the matter.
The second application was filed by three persons, Chief Olowo Cornelius, John Anjorin and Mallam Yusuf Adamu, who sought to be joined as co-defendants in the matter.
Their lawyer, Chief Anthony Adeniyi, said they were the persons behind the petition that was submitted against Melaye.
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