INEC Must Obey Court Order on Senator Melaye's Recall — Ozekhome

Wed, Jul 12, 2017 | By publisher


MIKE Ozekhome, SAN, constitutional lawyer and counsel to Senator Dino Melaye, has insisted that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should obey the court injunction restraining it from going ahead with the recall of the embattled senator from Kogi..

Ozekhome in a statement made available to Realnews on Wednesday, July 12, stated: “My attention has just been drawn to an alleged boasting by an  INEC official who was quoted as saying that there exists a 2001 Court of Appeal  judgement which held that no court can stop INEC in its recall of a lawmaker.

“He was also  quoted to have cited sections 87(10) and 110 of the Electoral Act. For these, he allegedly posited that INEC would not obey the injunctive relief granted against it and in favour of Senator Dino Melaye, halting it from going on with the recall initiative.

“This argument, to say the least, is outrageously specious and constitutes a dangerous red herring in our justice system and legal jurisprudence. The last time I checked, INEC is only in charge of election matters,not in the administration of justice.

“Let INEC officials first obey the present clear order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, coran, Justice John Tsoho, even if they believe the judgment is wrong, illegal, or delivered per incuriam. That is the right thing to do in a constitutional democracy governed  by laws,such as we operate. INEC can then come forward and  plead its case and even  cite authorities from heaven, if it genuinely believes it has a good case.

According to him,  “INEC is legally prohibited from  choosing and picking  which order of court to obey, or which not to obey, through its self- assumed whimsical and capricious interpretation of laws and judgements. INEC is part and parcel of the Executive arm of government and CAN NOT usurp the  interpretative  functions and powers  of courts of law,which belong to the hallowed precincts of the  Judiciary,another arm  of government.

“The doctrine of separation of powers,of checks and balances, ably espoused by the great  French philosopher, Baron de  Montesque in 1748,and enacted into sections 4,5 and 6 of the 1999 Constitution,still holds sway today as it ever was. I had wanted to believe that INEC was initially defiant about obeying the clear order because it had not received the order for the “maintenance of the status quo as at 6th July, 2017”,which was only served on its officials on Monday morning.

“But, if INEC persists in its    obduracy, contumacy and wanton breach of a clear order of the   court, its top management should be ready and prepared   to embrace the cold and dire legal consequences:imprisonment,after the  issuance on them of  forms 48 and 49,dealing with contempt proceedings for disobedience of valid and extant court orders. A word is enough for the wise. To say more at this stage will be otiose,” he said.

—  Jul 12, 2017 @ 09:20 GMT