Kogi West: Tribunal Upholds Smart Adeyemi’s Election Over Dino Melaye

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Edozie Udeojo,Abuja

The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja on Wednesday upheld the victory of Senator Smart Adeyemi of the APC in the November 16 Kogi West Senatorial rerun election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC had declared Adeyemi who garnered 88,373 votes as the winner of the poll against Dino Melaye of PDP who scored 62,133.

A three-man panel led by Justice Kashim Kaigama, in a unanimous judgment, dismissed the petition of former Senator Dino Melaye for lacking in merit.

The tribunal had in March reserved judgment on the petition filed by Melaye challenging the emergence of Senator Adeyemi as winner of the Kogi West Senatorial rerun election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Adeyemi as the winner of the November 2019 Senatorial rerun election after winning majority of lawful votes cast at the Kogi West senatorial poll.

Not satisfied, Melaye had approached the election tribunal to challenge the results of the election.

Melaye had asked the tribunal to nullify the election of Adeyemi and declare him winner of the poll, claiming he scored the highest number of valid votes.

Meanwhile, Melaye in the petition claimed that the November 16 senatorial rerun election was marred by violence, over-voting, manipulation of figures and other irregularities and called for the total cancellation of the affected areas and thereby declare him the winner of the election.

But delivering judgment in the petition Wednesday, the panel in a unanimous decision held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt.

According to the panel, the evidence of witnesses called by the petitioners were contradictory and as such unreliable.

The panel further held that claims of over voting and other alleged electoral malpractices were not substantiated both from documents presented and testimonies of witnesses.

The panel accordingly dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.

Senator Adeyemi had polled 88,373 votes to defeat Melaye who scored 62,133 votes at the election.

But, Melaye claimed that the election was marred with irregularities in 564 polling units in the senatorial district where election held.

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