Appeal Court sacks Dino Melaye, orders fresh election
An appeal court in Abuja on Friday upheld the decision of the election petitions tribunal that nullified the election of Senator Dino Melaye.
Melaye was representing Kogi West until the sacking.
A three-member panel of the court, led by Justice Yahaya Dantijo, in a unanimous decision affirmed the judgment of the tribunal who had nullified Melaye’s victory earlier and ordered for re-election.
Justice Dantijo affirmed the tribunal’s verdict, asking 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, JoashAmputan 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 sheet relied upon by the tribunal to nullify his client election were the ways of correcting errors.
He also urged the court to disregard the tribunals verdict relying on the detected over voting. He added that the figures was not in concordance with the numbers of voters in the affected wards and local government areas.
Counsel to Sen. Smart Adeyemi, Mr DapoOtitoju 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 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.
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 the Independent National Electoral Commission. His victory was challenged in court by Adeyemi, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Adeyemi challenged Melaye’s victory on three grounds of irregularities, over voting and non-compliance with the electoral acts. (NAN)