Chris Steven, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the restraining order which put the recall of Dino Melaye, the Senator representing Kogi West in the Senate, on hold.
The Commission told the Court that Melaye misrepresented and suppressed material facts, which it claimed misled the judge to grant the order of interim injunction.
The restraining order was issued on July 6 by Justice John Tsoho who subsequently adjourned the matter till September 29.
In a motion on notice brought before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba , INEC however, prayed the court to set aside the order for maintenance of status quo in the case.
In the motion filed by one Sulayman Ibrahim, the electoral body claimed that the order for the status quo has hindered it from proceeding with the recall process of Melaye.
INEC, in a 16-paragraph-affidavit in support of the motion on notice, claimed that the order made by Justice Tsoho was against the time bound duty of the Commission as enshrined under Section 69 of the 1999 Constitution.
The electoral body averred that since the ex-parte order was served on it on July 10, it has hindered it from taking any further action in respect of the recall petition.
It specifically claimed that it has 90 days, starting from June 21, to conduct a referendum in line with the approved timetable and schedule of activities.
INEC further claimed that the recall process was time bound and that the 90-day period for the exercise would lapse on September 18.
In another motion, the electoral umpire asked the court for an order for accelerated hearing of substantive suit, and that all order processes relating to the recall petition should be heard during the court vacation.
Justice Dimgba adjourned the hearing of the two motions till July 27 to enable Senator Melaye’s lawyers to respond to the suits.