The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed Dino Melaye’s appeal challenging the victory of Smart Adeyemi in the Kogi West Senatorial District election. It also awarded N50,000 cost in favour of the respondents.
The Justice Ibrahim Saulawa-led three-man panel of the court upheld the June 10, 2020 judgment of 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).
Melaye contested the November 2019 senatorial ballot on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and lost to Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He had sought the intervention of the court in his bid to upturn the decision of the tribunal that declared Adeyemi winner of the election.
The appellate court held that the appeal filed by Melaye was incompetent and that it found no reason to set aside the tribunal’s judgment, which upheld Adeyemi’s return as the winner of the poll.
Kogi State National and House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal had held that the evidence relied on by the petitioners was not sufficient to sustain their case.
Justice Adamu Usman, who delivered the lead judgement, had said that the petitioners were unable to prove that the election was not only characterised by manifest irregularities but was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act.
The tribunal noted that while the election was conducted in 173 polling units, the petitioners only called witnesses in respect of 48 polling units.
Aside that the petitioners did not lead evidence in respect of 125 polling units out of 257 proposed witnesses, only 71 of them were brought to testify in the matter.
The tribunal held that most of the witnesses gave contradictory, conflicting, hearsay and unreliable evidence that was not capable of sustaining allegations the petitioners raised in their petition.