THE Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, on Friday, lost in his bid the to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from proceeding with his recall process. In a unanimous judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered by Justice T.O. Awotoye, the appellant court dismissed Dino’s appeal for lacking in merit as it disclosed no cause of action.
Meanwhile, Senator Melaye who spoke through his lawyer, Nkem Okoro, has vowed to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court.
The court, which resolved all the issues contained in favour of INEC, affirmed the judgement of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, who held that Melaye’s suit was “hasty, premature and presumptuous.”
However, Dino, who was dissatisfied with the judgment, approached the Court of Appeal to set it aside and stop the electoral body from embarking on the recall process.
But in a unanimous judgement on Friday, the Court of Appeal, while agreeing with the decision of the trial court, held that the court ought to have struck out the suit for not disclosing any cause of action.
On the issue of lack of fair hearing canvassed by the embattled senator, the court dismissed the claim on the grounds that INEC is neither a tribunal nor a court of law.
The appellate court said there is no limitation to the counting of the 90 days for the recall process, as it can be extended. The court further held that the powers of the electoral umpire is a statutory one given by the constitution and not even the court can take away the powers of INEC to conduct a referendum.
The court held that “the powers of INEC is a statutory one given by the constitution and not even the court can take away the powers of INEC to conduct a referendum.
“Such statutory bodies like the INEC should be allowed to exercise their statutory powers without interference by the court.
“The appellant cannot claim that his right of fair hearing was infringed upon. His right to fair hearing has not been violated since INEC as a statutory body is not a tribunal neither is it a court of law.
“The appellant has not disclosed any case of action and the suit ought to have been struck out by the trial court for not disclosing any cause of action.
“I agree with the decision of the trial court. Ordinary, it ought to have struck out the suit for non-disclosure of cause of action. This is because where there is no cause of action, the court has no jurisdiction to hear the suit.
“Having resolved all the issues in the appeal against the appellant, I hereby strike out the suit and dismiss the appeal.’’