The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has said that it will not be intimidated by anybody in the ongoing exercise to recall the Senator representing the Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Dino Melaye from the Senate.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, stated this in an interview with Sunday Punch in reaction to the declaration by some senators on Tuesday that the exercise was a waste of time and resources.
Oyekanmi stated that INEC would not be bullied by anybody and would not allow itself to be distracted in the ongoing recall process.
He said that INEC would not join issues with the senators opposing Melaye’s recall process as they were entitled to their views.
He added that INEC would remain focused and take its responsibilities seriously as its actions are guided by the constitution and the Electoral Act.
Oyekanmi said the commission would always respond appropriately if due process was followed in the recall of National Assembly members which was provided for by the constitution.
He said, “We do not want to join issues with the distinguished senators. They are, in any case, entitled to their opinions but what is certain is that all actions taken by the Independent National Electoral Commission are essentially guided by the extant laws, that is, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Law (as amended). We take our responsibility seriously.
“INEC cannot be bullied by anybody. We don’t pay attention to distractions. We focus on what we have to do at all times.
“The process of recalling members of the National Assembly is a constitutional matter. There is a provision for it in our laws and when due process is followed in invoking it, the commission will respond appropriately.”
He restated the determination of the commission to continue with the process of Melaye’s recall until a competent court of jurisdiction asks the commission to halt the process.
“The commission will continue with the process until there is a definite pronouncement by a court of law specifically asking the commission to discontinue,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dino Melaye’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said on Saturday that the Independent National Electoral commission would, on Monday, be served with a court order directing status quo to be maintained with respect to the process of recalling the senator.
In a text message to Sunday Punch, Ozekhome said the commission could not be served the order on Thursday when the order was said to have been made because the judge had, as of that time, yet to sign it.
But he said contrary to INEC’s claim, the commission was aware of the court order.
Ozekhome stated, “They (INEC) are aware of the order.
“But by the time the judge finally signed it, INEC had closed for the day. They will get it first thing Monday morning.”