Will he survive this time around?
By John Eche
Fresh recall pressure is coming on an embattled Nigerian senator following the decision of a federal high court sitting in Abuja that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can continue with the process.
The man in question, Senator Dino Melaye, represents Kogi west in Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber.
In June, the government of Kogi state claimed it had got the signatures of 188,588 of Melaye’s constituents for his recall from the senate.
It subsequently submitted a catalog of the signatures appended to a petition to INEC.
Following the submission of the petition, INEC fixed August 19 for a verification exercise – to determine if Melaye’s constituents really wanted him out of the upper legislative chamber.
But the lawmaker went to court to challenge the process of his recall. He alleged that some of the signatures attached to the petition for his recall were those of dead people.
In July, John Tsoho, a justice of the federal high court, Abuja, asked all the parties in the suit – INEC and Melaye – to maintain the status quo until September 14 when he would hear the matter. The court then went on vacation
But Nnamdi Dimgba, another judge of the federal high court, Abuja, who is presiding all through the period of the judicial vacation, on Monday, dismissed Melaye’s suit, and asked INEC to proceed with the process of his recall.
He also asked INEC to serve the lawmaker a copy of the petition and a list of petitioners, and that it should amend its timetable and give him a two-week notice.
Melaye, a maverick in the red chamber, is a long-standing ally of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who has similarly been enmeshed in running battles with Nigeria’s yet ‘all-powerful’ executive arm of government.
Senator Dino Melaye