By Chinenye Festus:-
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed the appeal filed by Senator Dino Melaye, challenging the victory of Senator Smart Adeyemi as winner of Kogi West Senatorial District election on November 16, 2019.
The panel upheld the judgment delivered on June 10, 2020, by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, which sat in Abuja and affirmed the declaration of Adeyemi as winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Recall that Senator Melaye had filed a suit at the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgement of the Kogi State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal which affirmed the election of Senator Adeyemi.
He asked the court to cancel the decision of the Tribunal that declared Senator Adeyemi as the winner of the election and declare him as the actual winner. But, two weeks after the people of Kogi West senatorial district went to the poll, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Senator Adeyemi as the winner of the November 16, 2019 election.
The APC candidate polled 88,373 votes to beat his PDP rival who scored 62,133 votes. Ambassador Rufus Aiyenigba of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) came third in the poll with 659 votes and was trailed by John Olabode and Adeyemi Taiwo of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Nigeria Elements Progressive Party (NEPP who) garnered 262 and 119 votes respectively.
Following his victory at the poll, Adeyemi was inducted into the Senate and replaced Melaye as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation.
A three-man panel of justices of the appellate court, however, dismissed the suit in its judgement delivered on Tuesday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. Justice Ibrahim Saulawa who led the other judges and delivered the judgement held that the appeal filed by Melaye was incompetent.
He added that all seven issues raised in the appeal were resolved against the appellant with a cost of N50,000 awarded against him.
The Kogi State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal had dismissed the petition filed by Melaye for lacking in merit in its judgement delivered in Abuja on June 10, 2020.
It held that the witnesses presented by Melaye failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, unlawful votes, and the various electoral infractions listed in the petition.
By Chinenye Festus:-