The Kogi State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, has dismissed the petition filed by the former senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye.
Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 88,373 votes, as the winner of the poll, which held on November 19, 2019. INEC had claimed that Adeyemi defeated Melaye, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who polled 62,133 votes.
Melaye, dissatisfied with the declaration of Adeyemi as winner of the bye-election, had approached the tribunal challenging the victory of Senator Adeyemi, at the election.
Delivering judgment on the petition, the three-man panel of justices, led by Justice Isa Sambo, unanimously affirmed Adeyemi’s election as the winner in the disputed poll.
Holding that Melaye’s petition was lacking in merit, the Justice Sambo-led tribunal averred that the petitioner failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.
In a unanimous ruling, the three judges of the tribunal affirmed that Melaye’s witnesses failed to substantiate their claims in the petition to warrant granting Melaye his prayers.
The tribunal held that the evidence of the witnesses called by the petitioners was discredited during cross-examination and turned out to be “worthless, unreliable and unmerited statement,” and as such could not be relied on
Also holding that Melaye failed to prove the allegation of non-compliance with the standard of electoral acts in the election; the tribunal said all the 71 witnesses called by the petitioners contracted themselves during cross-examinations and made a “worthless, unreliable and unmerited statement” that cannot be relied on.
Rejecting the videos and other documents presented by the petitioner during the final written addresses, because they were not pleaded during proceedings; the tribunal subsequently dismissed Melaye’s petition and upheld Senator Adeyemi as duly and lawfully elected in the Kogi West senatorial bye-election.
But in his reaction to the tribunal’s ruling, Melaye said, “I never expected justice at this level. But we shall laugh last.”
He confirmed his resolve to seek redress at the Court of Appeal; even as he urged his supporters to stay away from violence and remain happy as he believed “justice” will be achieved.