First, it was reports and insinuations in the formal and informal media platforms suggesting that the INEC was intimidated to halt the recall process of Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi West Senatorial District. Despite the commission’s refutal of that allegation, some remained undying in insisting that the threat by the Senate to probe the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, where current INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, headed as executive secretary, prompted the halt to Melaye’s recall process. But we are on the side of all men of honour who saw no truth whatsoever in that allusion, even as INEC and its top officials have variously restated. Simply put, there was no such nexus between whatever action the lawmakers intend for TETFUND and the commission’s decision to put a hold on Melaye’s recall process. We recall too that all INEC did was to obey the court order restraining it from going further with the process. We also recall that the commission has gone to court to appeal the order; to get it vacated ahead the September 29 date fixed by the High Court for the motion on notice. Furthermore, INEC has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria on the High Court order which if not addressed could set a dangerous precedence that could derail the country’s democracy beginning with the general elections already scheduled. We note that by section 69 of the constitution, INEC has a 90-day limit from the date of recall petition presentation, June 21, 2017, in this case, to complete the Melaye exercise. We consider INEC’s move on the latter as the best under the circumstance. The commission needs the CJN’s legal and constitutional advice to appropriately address the matter promptly. If not, somebody or people could come up one day to ask a court to put aside the 2019 general and presidential elections time table already announced by INEC. When that happens, a monumental distortion would have been created in the 2019 elections process. But while the nation, nay, the democratic world ponders over the foregoing development, we were taken aback by a fresh suit filed against the senor’s recall process in Federal High Court, Lagos. Filed by Kogi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the suit seeks to stop INEC in its track on the lawmaker’s recall process on the allegation that INEC had not given him fair hearing. Plaintiffs in the case are the chairman of the state APC, Alhaji Haddy Ametuo and other principal officers – Shaibu Osune, S.T. Adejo, Yahaya Ismail, Isah Daniel, Chief Gbenga Asagun, Ahovi Ibrahim, Ghali Usman, Isa Abubakar, I.Molemodile, Abubakar Adamu and Daniel Sekpe. They are praying the court to determine “whether upon a proper interpretation of the provisions of Sections 65 (2) (b), 68 (1) (g) and 69 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the first plaintiff’s sponsored member, Senator Melaye, to the Senate is not entitled to a fair hearing before the process of his recall as contemplated by the provisions of the aforesaid section 69 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is initiated or commenced. Sen. Dino Melaye “…whether by the provisions of Sections 68 and 69 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Senator Melaye, the plaintiffs party’s sponsored member to the Senate can be validly recalled from the Senate upon an invalid petition presented to the chairman of INEC. “…whether the process of recall of Senator Melaye by a sponsored member of the plaintiffs party as envisaged by the provisions of section 69 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) can be valid and proper based upon a petition purportedly signed by fictitious persons, dead persons, persons who are not members of Kogi West senatorial district or constituency and with the same and similar hand writing belonging to a few persons,” among others. Thus, Kogi APC is seeking an order of injunction restraining INEC acting by itself or through its servants, employees, agents and privies from commencing or continuing or completing the process of recall of the plaintiffs sponsored senator. We consider the entire development as unnecessary and capable of setting dangerous precedents in the nation’s journey to 2019, when more would see Nigeria as arriving on the world platform of stable democracies. It is on this note we urge the CJN and every relevant constitutional creation to do the needful and put a halt to what we have interpreted as a deliberate ploy to stop INEC from delivering on its mandate, so constitutionally derived. In the countdown to 2019, we realise that the mud thrown at INEC would increase by the day all in efforts to rubbish its work or to derail it. But we are confident in the person, persona and character of the commission’s chairman to withstand and courageously perform his duties as demanded by the constitution. If there is any better time to allow INEC do its job, that time is now. Not even the fallouts of the Melaye recall process must constitute a cog in the wheel

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