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It is right for INEC to suspend Melaye’s recall process – Nigerian Lawyers, Agbakoba, Olanipekun

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Supreme Court nominee and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, has thrown his weight behind the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for suspending the recall process of Senator Dino Melaye.
Agbakoba, whose position was also supported by another Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Ola Olanipekun, said the election management body had no option than to obey the law.
He said: “The law is if an appeal is filed, then it acts as a stay of proceeding in the lower court. In particular case, in addition to filing an appeal by Melaye, he would have also filed a stay of proceeding.
 
“Also, if the record of proceedings in the High Court has been transmitted to the Court of Appeal, then the Federal High Court will have no jurisdiction to proceed. So, it is not even for INEC to proceed, it has no right to proceed.”
INEC had suspended the recall of Senator Melaye after the latter appealed the decision of a high court for INEC to proceed with the process.   Also supporting INEC’s decision, Mr. Olanipekun said: “Since an appeal process has been activated, it’s a judicial intervention. If INEC should go ahead while the appeal process is ongoing, its decision would be ridiculed.  The source of this problem is the unnecessary judicial intervention in the discharge of INEC’’s statutory function.
 
“Once the statutes give an individual or an organisation a duty to take certain steps, the courts are not supposed to restrain such person or entity from taking such steps until they have performed the functions and the process infringes on somebody’s rights.
 
“It was wrong for the High Court to  stop the INEC. The recall process is time bound. It is clearly stated in the constitution, when it must be completed; that is within 90 days. The injunction to stop INEC would never have been given in the first place. The court wouldn’t have granted the injunction.
 
“It would have considered the balance of convenience. If the court had done so, it would have seen that it would have been more convenient to allow the process to run its course as stipulated by relevant laws. It would have allowed INEC to proceed with the recall since it was time out.”
He said the court could still set aside the outcome of the exercise if it was found to have been in breach of the operating law.

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