Kogi West: Tribunal Reserves Judgement on Adeyemi’s Petition over Melaye’s Victory

Smart Adeyemi vs Dino Melaye

Kogi West: Tribunal Reserves Judgement on Adeyemi’s Petition over Melaye’s Victory

The Kogi State National Assembly/State Assembly Elections Petition tribunal on Tuesday reserved judgment on the petition filed by Senator Smart Adeyemi over the Kogi west senatorial election.

Smart Adeyemi vs Dino Melaye

Adeyemi is challenging the declaration of Senator Dino Melaye as the winner of the election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Melaye as the winner of the February 23 national assembly election following which Adeyemi approached the election tribunal to challenge the results of the election.

The three-member panel of the tribunal led by Justice A.O Chijioke, however, reserved the judgement after the parties had adopted their final written addresses.

Adopting the address, Prof Joash Amupitan (SAN), who was counsel to Melaye asked the court to dismiss the petitioner as the documents presented by the petitioners were “mere hearsay documents”.

But Adeyemi’s counsel, Dapo Otitoju, asked the court to nullify the election on three grounds.

According to him, the first ground was that INEC decision to collate and announce the results of the election in Lokoja was against the Federal High Court judgement which stipulated Kabba as the headquarters of the senatorial district showed that the election negated the constitution and electoral acts; and a substantial ground to nullify the election.

He stressed that INEC disobedience to the Federal High Court ruling when they did not appeal the judgment revealed that the electoral umpire had a hidden agenda.

The second ground, according to the counsel, was whether the presentation of the certified true copy of PVC distribution in Kogi West which revealed 48,200 excess votes in the result declared for the senatorial district is not enough ground to nullify the election.

Otitoju also urged the tribunal to take note of mutilation of votes that was visible in the result sheet, saying the mutilation was occasioned by the change of venue of collation centres by the electoral umpire.

He urged the tribunal to quash the election because it did not comply with the constitution and the electoral acts; and the position of the people who voted.

The tribunal, after listening to the adopted final briefs of arguments,  reserved judgement, saying counsels involved will be communicated.

The tribunal has 30 days left out of the 120 days earmarked for its sittings.

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