Dino Melaye has laughed off the nullification of his senatorial election by the Kogi State National Assembly/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal.
A three-man panel, led by Justice A. O. Chijioke, in a unanimous judgment, accepted Smart Adeyemi’s request and ordered a fresh election in Kogi West.
Adeyemi, who ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had asked the Tribunal to nullify the election on the grounds that there were cases of irregularities including over-voting and non-compliance with the electoral act.
Reacting to the outcome of the judgment, Melaye said he would get judgment at the Appeal Court.
Melaye wrote, ”On Tribunal judgment. No cause for alarm at all. Even if it went my way they will still go to the Appeal Court. Our mandate can not be taken. We will get judgment at the Appeal Court.
”There will be a fresh election in Kogi West because I will be Governor. For my Senate mandate no shaking.”
Melaye polled a total of 85,395 votes to defeat his APC opponent, who scored 66,902 votes.
But the APC candidate went on to challenge Melaye’s election on three grounds of irregularities, over voting and non-compliance with the electoral act.
At one of the sittings, counsel to the petitioner, Toyin Adeniyi, called three witnesses to further prove that Melaye did not win the election and should not have been declared the winner.
The witnesses were Adeyemi, who was the star witness, the Director-General, Adeyemi Campaign Organisation, Adoga Ibrahim, and the Kogi west zonal Chairman of APC, Ropo Asala, who were also cross-examined by the respondents’ counsels.
Adeyemi’s counsel said the change of collation centres gave room for all the manipulations, tampering, mutilations of results sheets and other irregularities witnessed in the election results.
He also prayed the court to admit the INEC letter of a certified true copy of the list of PVC distributions in the senatorial axis which indicate over voting in three of the challenged LGAs of Yagba West, Lokoja and Ijumu.
However, counsel to 2nd and 3rd Respondents, (PDP and INEC) asked the tribunal to reject the INEC letter of PVC distribution because it was not “listed or front-loaded” by the petitioners at the beginning of the petition.
Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice O. A Chijoke declined to accept INEC letter of PVC distribution, saying it should be marked as “tendered but rejected”.