Indications have emerged on fresh moves to remove the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, who had won re-election to the Red Chamber in the 2019 general election.
Melaye had defected from the All Progressives Congress, APC to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the run up to the election and he later won the election in his Senatorial District.
In this recent move, the candidate of the ruling APC in Kogi West Senatorial district, Senator Smart Adeyemi, has closed his case before the National and State Assembly Election Tribunal that is adjudicating on the February 23 National Assembly election.
According to Daily Post, Adeyemi was challenging the declaration of the incumbent lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye (1st respondent), as the winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
At the resumed sitting of the tribunal in Abuja on Monday, counsel to the petitioner, Chief Toyin Adeniyi, called three witnesses to further prove that Melaye did not win the election and should not have been declared the winner of the election.
The witnesses were Adeyemi, who was the star witness, the Director-General, Adeyemi Campaign Organisation, Adoga Ibrahim, and the Kogi west zonal Chairman of APC, Ropo Asala, who were also cross-examined by the respondents’ counsels.
The petitioner, however, told the tribunal that the Kogi High Court judgement had declared that elections collation, announcement and other matters as regarded Kogi west election should be carried out at the district headquarters in Kabba and not in Lokoja.
Adeyemi told the tribunal that the change of collation centre by INEC from Kabba to Lokoja allowed the respondents to engage in alleged manipulations, tampering, mutilations of results sheets and other irregularities witnessed in the election results.
Apart from the judgment, Adeyemi also urged the court to admit the certified true copy of the list of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) distributions originated by INEC in the senatorial axis.
However, the PDP, which was the second and the INEC, third respondent did not challenge the admissibility of the High court judgment but asked the tribunal to reject that of the PVC distribution because it was not “listed or front-loaded” by the petitioners at the beginning of the petition.
Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice O. A Chijoke, however, admitted the court judgment as evidence but declined the PVC distribution, saying it should be marked as “tendered but rejected.”
The tribunal subsequently adjourned to June 10 and gave the respondents 15 days to open and close their defence.
The fresh move by the APC and its candidate in the election to nullify the victory of Melaye of the PDP is still generating reactions from the public. Melaye has been a very vocal critic of the APC administration.
All eyes are on the court to see how the matter turns out.
What are your thoughts on this story?