Battle Lines Drawn As Dino Melaye Battles Smart Adeyemi

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There has been an ongoing battle in Kogi state between Dino Melaye (APC) representing Kogi west senatorial district and a senator in the seventh senate, Smart Adeyemi (PDP).

Adeyemi challenged the victory of Dino in the March 28 Na­tional Assembly election alleging that electoral irregularities and malpractices were wide spread during the poll. A witness also told the tribunal that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) falsified results.

The tribunal fixed a date for Tuesday, October 10 2015 for the judgment of the suit after weeks of legal fireworks by the affected parties to the petition. The case was led by Justice Akon Ikpeme.

The witness, Feinti Dada, who was his agent at the poll said the exercise was riddled with irregularities across the 21 units of five wards in Lokoja local government area of the state.

He added in a cross examination that the result of the recount ordered by the tribunal showed that INEC recorded voided votes during the election in favour of Melaye.

The petition of Smart Adeyemi eventually was struck out by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Kogi

This displeased Justice Muhammed Adume said it was wrong for the tribunal to strike out Adeyemi’s petition on the grounds of technicalities, instead of substantial justice which remitted to case on trial on merit

Furthermore, the court ruled that Adeyemi did not file his petition within the time frame allowed by law and nullified it forthwith, but Adume however contradicted the decision of the court, saying that there was no sufficient evidence before the tribunal that the petition was filed late.

The tribunal then dismissed the petition of Adeyemi, a one-time National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for late filing.

The tribunal Chairman, Justice Akon Ikpeme, had in the ruling of June 18, held that the Kogi west ex-senator’s case was “incurably defective’’.

When he eventually won the trial, Melaye began singing songs of victory in the court adding that he was sure he was going to win.

He also took to twitter to announce his victory by saying “Praise God. Sen Dino Melaye’s election upheld and Sen. Smart Adeyemi’s petition dismissed for “lack of merit.”

Dino Melaye is the current chairman of the Senate committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The three senators representing Kogi state include Abdulrahman Abubakar (Kogi East), former governor of Kwara state and current senator for Kwara North, Shaába Lafiagi (Kwara North) and Dino Melaye (Kogi West).