The Independent National Electoral Commission has protested an order of a federal high court stopping it from commencing with the process of recalling Senator Dino Melaye. The commission petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, warning the restraining order might affect its future assignments.
Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, a National Commissioner of INEC, reportedly said on Saturday that they were, “Deeply concerned by this situation, the commission at its weekly meeting held on July 13, 2017, considered the court order and its implication for the commission’s ability to carry out its constitutional function regarding the petition to recall the senator.
“After weighing all the options, the commission decided that as a responsible organisation and in line with its longstanding tradition, it should not be seen as disobeying a court order, however inappropriate it may consider the order.”
He denied media reports that the commission halted the recall process as a result of the decision of the Senate to probe the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, where the INEC Chairman, Mahmud Yakubu, was executive Secretary between 2007 and 2012.
Ibeanu described the reports linking the suspension of the recall process to the Senate decision to probe contract scam in TETFUND as “totally incorrect and mischievous.””
The court had asked that INEC maintained the status quo pending the determination of an application filed by Melaye’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, (SAN).