Th e Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) had asked Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court Abuja, to allow it serve the senator representing Kogi West, in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, the petition requesting his recall and other accompanying documents, through substituted means. Justice Dimgba had in his judgment delivered on September 11, 2017, permitted INEC to proceed with the exercise of verifying the signatures of the 188,588 registered voters who were said to have signed in support of the recall process.
Th e judge also ordered that the senator be served with the recall petition and other accompanying documents as a pre-condition for commencement of the verifi cation exercise.
But, counsel to the INEC, Mr. Olawale Ibrahim, had told the judge that all its attempts to serve the senator personally, as ordered by the court had been successful. Th e counsel, in an ex parte application, sought the court’s order directing substituted means of serving the senator by dumping the documents in front of Melaye’s offi ce at the National Assembly. Reacting to the application, Nkem Okoro of the law fi rm of Mike Ozekhome, (SAN), Melaye’s lead counsel, informed the judge that the senator had been away from the country.
He, therefore, informed the court that Mr. Melaye, would return to the country between September 25 and 26, when the National Assembly would resume. Mr. Okoro also told the judge that the senator had fi led separate motions, seeking the stay of execution of the court’s judgment delivered on September 11 and challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear INEC’s ex parte motion.
Justice Dimgba, in his response, said he was just informed of arrival of a motion ex parte by INEC for substituted service of the petition that morning. Th e judge, however, directed that INEC to make “one more attempt at personal service on Melaye or through his counsel.” He noted that “only if that fails” would he be disposed to taking the INEC’s ex parte application. Counsel to both parties then agreed that the matter be adjourned until September 28 “for report of service and/ or hearing of the ex parte and all pending applications in the unlikely event that personal service still fails.” Meanwhile, Melaye had appealed against the judgment of the Federal High Court.