The Court of Appeal in Abuja has upheld the judgement of the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Kogi State that sacked Senator Dino Melaye (PDP-Kogi West) in August.
Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice A.O Chijioke, gave the order while delivering the judgment in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on August 23.
The Tribunal delivered the judgment on the back of the petition filed by Smart Adeyemi, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the February 23 election.
Adeyemi, Melaye’s predecessor, 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.
Melaye was declared the winner of the Kogi West Senatorial election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in February.
Melaye polled a total of 85,395 votes to defeat his APC opponent, who scored 66,902 votes, according to INEC.
Melaye won in six of the seven local government areas that make up Kogi West. The areas are Lokoja, Mopa Muro, Kabba/Bunu, Ijumu, Yagba East, and Yagba West. Adeyemi won in Kogi/Koton Karfe.
But the APC candidate, Adeyemi, rejected the results, as he went on to challenge Melaye’s victory on three grounds.
The grounds were: irregularities, over voting, and non-compliance with the electoral act.
A three-man panel led by Justice A. O. Chijioke in a unanimous judgment accepted Adeyemi’s ground and ordered for reelection into the Kogi West senatorial district.
Displeased with the judgment of Justice Chijioke’s led tribunal, Senator Melaye approached the Appeal Court to appeal the ruling.
Interestingly, Melaye was in APC for the 2015 elections, while Adeyemi ran on the PDP platform. Both then switched parties for the 2019 polls.