The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it is not worried about the nullification of the election of Senator Dino Melaye by the Kogi State National Assembly/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal.
Naijaparry reports that a three-man panel, led by Justice A. O. Chijioke, in a unanimous judgment, accepted Smart Adeyemi’s request and ordered a fresh election in Kogi West.
Adeyemi, who ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had asked the Tribunal to nullify the election on the grounds that there were cases of irregularities including over-voting and non-compliance with the electoral act.
Reacting to the outcome of the judgment, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party would get victory at the Appeal Court, adding that Melaye would remain the representative of Kogi West at the Senate.
He said: “We are not worried about the nullification because we still have the opportunity of going to the Court of Appeal. However, Kogi West where Dino comes from is the home of the PDP in Kogi State. So if elections are held there over and over the PDP will always win. So we do not have any issue.
“We are also confident of victory at the Appeal Court because Adeyemi lost that election roundly. His party is the ruling party in the state, but the people of Kogi West voted against him. He knows that he lost that election including in his ward and local government area. So if the election is held 100 times, the PDP will win.”
Naijaparry reported that Melaye polled a total of 85,395 votes to defeat his APC opponent, who scored 66,902 votes.
But the APC candidate went on to challenge Melaye’s election on three grounds of irregularities, over voting and non-compliance with the electoral act.
At one of the sittings, counsel to the petitioner, Toyin Adeniyi, called three witnesses to further prove that Melaye did not win the election and should not have been declared the winner.
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.
Adeyemi’s counsel said the change of collation centres gave room for all the manipulations, tampering, mutilations of results sheets and other irregularities witnessed in the election results.
He also prayed the court to admit the INEC letter of a certified true copy of the list of PVC distributions in the senatorial axis which indicate over voting in three of the challenged LGAs of Yagba West, Lokoja and Ijumu.
However, counsel to 2nd and 3rd Respondents, (PDP and INEC) asked the tribunal to reject the INEC letter of 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 declined to accept INEC letter of PVC distribution, saying it should be marked as “tendered but rejected”.