The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has upheld the election of Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the validly elected Senator for Kogi West Senatorial District.
A three-man panel of the court, led by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, unanimously resolved all seven issues, identified for determination, against Dino Melaye, the appellant.
The panel upheld the judgment delivered on June 10 by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, which affirmed the declaration of Adeyemi as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The appellate court dismissed as lacking in merit, an appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate Senator Dino Melaye, challenging Adeyemi’s victory.
The court said it found no reason to set aside the judgement of the Kogi State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal which upheld Adeyemi’s victory. Aside from resolving all the seven issues that Melaye and the PDP raised in the appeal, against them, the appellate court awarded a cost of N50, 000 in favour of each of the respondents.
The appellants had in their 32 grounds of appeal, challenged the June 10 verdict of the tribunal that validated Adeyemi’s victory with a total of 88,377 votes as against the 230,133 votes that was polled by Melaye.
Melaye told the court that the tribunal failed to properly evaluate the petition and proof of evidence he entered against the return of Adeyemi as winner of the senatorial contest. He alleged that the Justice Isa Sambo-led three-man tribunal wrongly rejected some documents that were tendered before it and thereby occasioned grave miscarriage of justice against him.
He alleged that the tribunal ignored evidence he tendered to prove that about 22,290 votes that accrued to him in a particular local government were unlawfully cancelled, insisting that evidence of his witnesses that the election was marred by over-voting was not disputed.
Besides, Melaye alleged non-adherence to INEC’s guidelines and manual for the election, adding that there was total non-compliance with the Electoral Act.