Why court ordered continuation of Dino Melaye’s recall

Dino Melaye, Senator representing Kogi West. [Photo Credit: Punch Newspapers]
Dino Melaye, Senator representing Kogi West. [Photo Credit: Punch Newspapers]

An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Monday dismissed an application filed by a senator, Dino Melaye, against his planned recall.

Mr. Melaye had approached the court in July to challenge a decision of Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to commence a process for his recall, following petitions filed by members of the Kogi West senatorial constituency where the lawmaker represents.

The court had ordered a suspension of the recall process, following Mr. Melaye’s application, but directed on Tuesday that the process should continue, after deciding that the application lacked merit.

The presiding judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, ruled that the electorate whose petition resulted in the recall had a right to request the removal of their senator from office since they are the ones who “gifted the position of the said office” to Mr. Melaye.

“The electorate voted the senator into office, they gifted him the office and they have the right to take back what they gifted.

“It is also important to know that going by the electoral laws, the members of the constituency do not owe the senator any right to inform him of their lack of confidence in him. All they owe is to inform the body, which will inform the senator in a manner deemed appropriate for him to prepare to defend himself,” Mr Dimgba said.

Citing electoral laws of the United States, the judge added that the law does mandate the electorate to exhibit its right of franchise, “only in good fate.”

“The electorate can vote for any reason, good or bad, the same rule applies for a recall process. Electoral constituents can act in a way they deem fit. It is beyond the powers of the court to determine how they (the constituency) can exhibit that right.”

The court also decided that INEC was not under any obligation to inform Mr Melaye of its decision to recall him.

“I do not believe that an agency seeking to recall the senator has a duty to inform him, before commencing the process, these are clear cut procedures. The duty of the commission is to access the petitions and verify that the signatories are authentic.”

Mr. Dimgba said the allegation of fraud and fictitious signatures had already been settled by “the constitutional provision of INEC to verify the signatories.”

“I, therefore, hold that the complaint brought before the court were hasty, premature and presumptuous,” said Mr Dimgba.

He added that the makers of the constitution included the provision for the removal of a senator, despite “inherent dangers.” He said that in developed countries like the United States, such a provision is not included in the constitution so that it could be misused by certain political actors.

Mr. Dimgba noted that “the court only has the powers to interpret the laws as they are.”

According to the judge, Mr Melaye’s allegation of lack of fair hearing cannot be treated in the court because the constitution has already provided an internal process inherent in INEC’s recall procedure for Mr. Melaye to determine whether he would be granted a fair hearing on not.

He added that unless Mr. Melaye exhausts the internal mechanism provided by law, he cannot complain of being denied a fair hearing.

Mr. Dimbga further said that the 188,588 voters who reportedly signed the petitions against the lawmaker were in conformity with the constitutional requirement for over half of the registered 360,100 voters who registered for the election in Kogi-west constituency.

The judge also noted that the recall timetable provided in court had indicated clearly that Mr. Melaye would be given a chance to defend himself during the process.

He added that any further right of hearing, required by Mr. Melaye would be “between himself and his voters whom he has a right to explain himself to.”

‎Justice Dimbga, however, noted that the complaint brought by INEC against Mr Melaye’s motion was invalid, stressing that “the motion was duly filed according to the rules of court.”

He added that although the constitution does not specify that INEC must provide Mr. Melaye with the details of the recall before commencing with the process, it also did not state that it should inform the Senator ‘at all.’

“The defendant, however, informed the senator and rightly so, because it is in conformity with the natural law of justice,” said Mr. Dimgba.

The judge also queried the failure of INEC to include the details of the petition, when it eventually informed Mr. Melaye about the recall, wondering how the electoral body “expects Mr Melaye to defend himself.”

The judge subsequently ordered that a copy of the petition, the signatories to the said petition, as well as the supporters of the recall process be made available to the applicant within two weeks before the next amended date of commencement’ of the recall.

The court decided that the 90-day benchmark for the referendum on Mr. Melaye’s removal from office would continue from Monday, September 11.

Mr. Melaye known for his outspoken nature on and out of the floor of the National Assembly on critical national issues is currently fighting the battle of his life to retain his seat after 188,588 reportedly signed a petition seeking his recall.

He has been known to take on political figures including a national leader of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu and his state governor, Yahaya Bello.

He was recently enmeshed in a messy academic certificate forgery scandal which put him in an unhealthy spotlight until the authorities of the school concerned, the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, came to his rescue to confirm that he indeed graduated from the institution.

Mr. Melaye has blamed the Kogi State Governor for being behind his present ordeal.


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  • Dazmillion

    He added that any further right of hearing, required by Mr. Melaye would be “between himself and his voters whom he has a right to explain himself to.”

    Kudos to the Judge. This is the critical element of democracy that the Nigerian politician feign ignorance about, the undeniable fact that they owe voters an explanation for their actions or inaction.

    • Doctor Juris

      @thusspokez:disqus @

      Nigeria under Buhari: State of the Nation; Dino Melaye aside

      Fish rots from the head. Any government led by a Primary Six certificate holder
      can’t be sensible or thoughtful but brutish and ruinous. Were Muhamadu Buhari’s
      shambolic government in Nigeria itself less studded by morons it would be funny,
      rather than this tragic.

      Alas, with a retard like Lai Muhammed as Buhari’s Information Minister,
      a near-cretin who cannot yet logically explain how President Buhari’s ear
      infection led, inexorably, to blood transfusion for 103 days in London
      , but who
      continues to draw salary, for lacking in believability, the very first qualification
      for the job, even as he’s surrounded by jaded creatures in his own image, such
      as 77-year-old Duro Onabule – who himself holds tight to a virtual sinecure
      post as N.T.A Chairman, but with nothing to show for it in the public interest;
      other than his own personal benefits, salary and allowances; whilst N.T.A rots
      into laughable mess, the Buhari government was virtually dead on arrival.

      Muhamadu Buhari does not know but neither does his mediocre cabinet know
      that secession by verbal declaration of self-government is lawful activity under
      current international law today, according to recent verdict of the International
      Court of Justice. A primeval government stuck in the olden days, which sends
      troops out to kill lawful agitators of secessionist self-determination, even in the
      course of a bogus show of force in Biafra, will risk jailing under international law
      as it stands.

      • marcos avelino

        Nigeria will cut the hands of those who wish to scuttle its ship so that a hundred million people may die from the ensuing chaos. Your nonsensical referendum or blackmailing restructuring will never happen. Cowards get ready for a total war.

  • thusspokez

    Dino Melaye is not laughing and doing his funny man dance on YouTube any more. The people of Kogi West Senatorial constituency will have the last laugh and dance.

  • Sean

    This was always the position of law but some rich crooked people think they can change the law to suit their purpose. Dimgba J, succinctly explained to Melaye and his fraudulently deceptive lawyers the electoral law in the simplest form. Now let the game begin!

  • persona

    After Kenya, I suppose that a glimmer of hope is happening in Nigeria.
    judges should not only deliver the judgment, they should ensure history is made so the judgement will be firm enough such that any other politician will indeed know that elections are about constituents and if they feel disenfranchised, they have the unassailable rights to exit anyone.
    This judgement has upheld the constitution, kudos to the judge and I hope DSP now knows that they didn’t gift Dino his seat but his electorate and so shall it be.

  • Law Allianz


    Judge Nnamdi got the law wrong in full

    A Judge is to interpret a law, and not just say so, but not to go ahead to make laws.
    The presiding Judge in this case got his logic wrong having firstly correctly stated
    that the 1999 Constitution does not mandate INEC to further deliver the names of
    the Petitioners to Dino Melaye personally, the Judge lost his logical train of thought
    to wit:

    •”The judge also queried the failure of INEC to include the details of
    the petition, when it eventually informed Mr. Melaye about the recall,
    wondering how the electoral body “expects Mr Melaye to defend himself.
    The judge subsequently ordered that a copy of the petition, the
    signatories to the said petition, as well as the supporters of the
    recall process be made available to the applicant within two weeks
    before the next amended date of commencement’ of the recall

    The law says that INEC is only to notify the Senator to be recalled
    that it has received a petition for his recall. INEC may lawfully notify Dino
    Melaye by a one-paragraph letter. The 1999 Constitution does not say INEC
    must also deliver the petitioners’ names. For what reason? What’s that for?

    Justice Nnamdi Dimgba badly got ahead of himself on that limb of the
    judgment. The 1999 Constitution only says INEC must paste the petition as
    public notice. It’s bad reasoning by Justice Dimgba to then impose personal
    service plus + public notice by pasting. What nonsense!

    • thusspokez

      Didn’t the INEC lawyers present these arguments, or they are not as clever as you are?

      The 1999 Constitution does not say INEC must also deliver the petitioners’ name

      Releasing a copy to the fruitcake senator could be dangerous, This could range from intimidation to even murder — given the questionable state of mind of the senator in question.

      • I no know book




        • Opekete

          INEC can appeal that part of the judgement without prejudicing the whole judgement.

  • AryLoyds

    Abeg E , nothing will happen to Dino , after all ,we have senators like Bukar Ibrahim still in the NASS after been caught sleeping with a young girl and a woman all at the same time!

    • zacchaeus Akinleye

      Bukar Ibrahim never faced a recall from his constituents as a result of his adulterous entanglements. That is the difference. If they are comfortable with him being a skirt-chaser, why is that your problem?

      • AryLoyds

        That is the why in Nigeria “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” -G.O
        So just imagine a senator or a minister in the western world been seen with his undies sleeping with prostitutes , what do you think they will do honourably ? And yet the same useless man was an advocate of shariah 🙂

        • Opekete

          Let them chop off his dick in Sokoto. We are not barbaric in the south

      • eshe_70@yahoo.com

        Your thought process is warped. And u call yourself leaders of tomorrow. You educated illiterate

      • dave jacob

        Please do not respond to his warped views again or else you would have transformed yourself to what he/she is.

  • Sword of Damocles

    why the 1-2 month delay? if in the end, the recall of this thug marauder is overturned because it exceeded the time period allowed by the law for such a process, then the Nigerian Judiciary would be responsible for keeping in office a man who had been rejected by his constituents. Wasn’t this one of the tactics that the Judicial Act of 2015 was supposed to alleviate/preclude? unnecessary/prejudicial delays to the judicial process?

  • Taylor

    The onus now lies with the state governor to provide the 158000+ that signed the petition for physical verification. They must provide their names and resign in the presence of Melaye’s agent. Anyone that couldn’t accurately resign should go to jail with the governor. It’s not easy to stay in a house and forge signatures but to come out one after the other and authenticate it..

  • musa aliero

    This is a total waste of time. They should just wait till 2019 to vote him out. He will just go and appeal the judgement and that will delay the process again, even if he loses again he will head to Supreme Court, by that time the Main elections have come. I think people should reserve their energy for 2019, and vote any person out.

  • bigbang

    Finally the system works in Nigeria.