An Appeal Court in Abuja on Friday upheld the ruling of the Kogi State election petitions tribunal which nullified the election of Senator Dino Melaye as the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District.
NAN reports that a three-member panel of the court, led by Justice Yahaya Dantijo, in a unanimous decision, affirmed the judgment of the tribunal and ordered a fresh election.
Justice Dantijo affirmed the tribunal’s verdict, directing the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to withdraw the certificate of return given to Senator Dino Melaye and conduct a fresh election within the time frame of the law.
Melaye’s counsel, Joash Amputan had on September 5, prayed the appellant court to set aside the tribunal’s judgment because they were miscarriage of justice.
He said the mutilation of result sheets relied upon by the tribunal to nullify his client election were the ways of correcting errors.
He also urged the court to disregard the tribunal’s verdict relying on the detected over voting.
Amputan added that the figures were not in concordance with the numbers of voters in the affected wards and local government areas.
Counsel to Senator Smart Adeyemi, Dapo Otitoju said the mutilation of result sheet was done by INEC in connivance with Dino’s men to cover up the rigging.
He also said the 48,200 over voting that was detected in the election was uncovered through INEC certified true copy of PVC distributed in the senatorial axis.
He added that the said rigging was carried out in so much bad light that the result of the election issued read February 26, 2019 instead of February 23, 2019 when the election was conducted.
He, therefore, prayed the Appeal Court to disregard the petitioners’ counsel prayers and uphold the tribunal’s judgment.
He submitted that the appeal is incompetent and lacking in merit.
WuzupNigeria reports that on August 23, the Kogi National Assembly election tribunal nullified the election of Melaye.
Melaye, a candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner of the February election by INEC. His victory was challenged in court by his predecessor, Adeyemi, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Melaye who was the candidate of APC in 2015 defeated Adeyemi, then of the PDP, in his bid to return to the Senate for a third term.
In 2016 Melaye returned to the PDP with other Senators including Senator Bukola Saraki who was then the Senate President, while Adeyemi also dumped the PDP for APC and the duo won the tickets of their parties to slug it out in the February 2019 NASS elections. Melaye was declared winner of the elections by INEC.
Adeyemi, however, challenged Melaye’s victory on three grounds of irregularities, over voting and non-compliance with the electoral acts.