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I’ll reclaim my stolen mandate at Appeal Court, says Melaye

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Following Wednesday’s tribunal judgment, which upheld Senator Smart Adeyemi as winner of the November 16, 2019, Kogi West Senatorial election rerun, his challenger, Senator Dino Melaye has told Adeyemi and his supporters not to jubilate their temporary victory as it “will soon fade in the air.”

Melaye said “the blind, the deaf and every Nigerian know what happened in Kogi State during the November 16, 2019 elections.”

In the election results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 88,373 votes as against 62,133 votes polled by Melaye, who ran on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ticket.

Melaye and his party (PDP), alleging that the process was not free and fair, had approached the tribunal seeking for him to be declared the winner of the election or order a rerun.

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In a statement by his media office, Melaye appealed to his supporters to remain calm, as he would proceed to the Appeal Court to retrieve the stolen mandate freely given to him by his constituents.

“I am Dino Melaye, they don’t call me Dino for nothing. We shall laugh at the end,” the statement read in part.

But in his reaction, Senator Adeyemi thanked the three-man tribunal panel “for looking at the case dispassionately and for arriving at a judgment based on facts before it.”

He said he and his team of lawyers were prepared to meet his opponent, Senator Dino Melaye if he decided to appeal the judgment.

According to him, “The petitioner came with 71 witnesses and 70 of them said the election was free and fair. These were the people Dino himself brought to the court to testify that the election was not free and fair. From what the judges have seen, the petitioners couldn’t prove all their allegations.

“I am more than prepared for the appeal. The facts are there, so we are waiting. But looking at the content of the tribunal judgment, you don’t have to be a lawyer to know when somebody does not have a case. Appeal Court is not where you start the case all over. After the tribunal, you cannot go and manufacture fresh evidence. The judges said they (petitioners) came to court to waste their time because witnesses brought by the petitioners testified that the election was free and fair. So I don’t know what is to be taken to appeal but we are prepared for the appeal”.

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