Tribunal dismisses Dino Melaye’s appeal to return to Senate
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed the petition by Dino Melaye challenging the election of Senator Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 16 Kogi West Senatorial rerun election.
The tribunal said all the 71 witnesses called by the petitioners contradicted themselves during cross-examinations and made “worthless, unreliable and unmerited statement” that cannot be relied on.
The court also rejected the videos and other documents presented by the P
petitioner during the final written addresses because they were not pleaded during proceedings.
Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Adeyemi who polled 88,373 votes as the winner of the poll against Dino Melaye of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 62,133.
Melaye rejected the results declared by INEC and petitioned the tribunal to declare him the winner of the election or order the electoral body to conduct a fresh election.
But the tribunal in a unanimous ruling on Wednesday said Melaye’s petition could not stand because he failed to substantiate the grounds that there was noncompliance to standards of the electoral act in the election.
The tribunal subsequently dismissed Melaye’s petition and upheld Adeyemi as duly and lawfully elected senator in the Kogi West Senate election.
Reacting to the judgement, Melaye said he “never expected justice at this level but shall get justice at the court of appeal.”
He urged his supporters to be “strong and peaceful (because) nothing spoil. We shall laugh at last.”
Prior to this ongoing legal tussle for the Kogi West Senatorial seat, Dino, a member of the 8th Senate, was declared reelected as a member of the current National Assembly by INEC after 2019 election.
Adeyemi rejected the outcome and challenged the result up to the Supreme Court which sacked Melaye in October 2019 and ordered that a fresh election be conducted between the political rivals.