Goodwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal on Friday affirmed the judgment of the Kogi State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal which sacked Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West senatorial district at the Senate.
The appellate court equally ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Senate Melaye and conduct a fresh election within the time frame permitted by the law.
In nullifying Dino’s victory, the Justice Yahaya Dantijo led three- member panel noted that there were discrepancies in the dates contained on the result sheets produced by INEC for the election held on February 23, 2019 in the senatorial district.
On August 23, 2019, the Justice A.O. Chijioke-led Kogi State National Assembly/State Assembly Election Tribunal had, in its judgment voided Melaye’s election, upheld the petition by Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and ordered fresh election in some parts of the Kogi West.
Dissatisfied with the decision, Melaye had through his counsel, Joash Amputan, asked the appellant court to set aside the tribunal’s judgment because it was a miscarriage of justice. He contended that the mutilation of result sheet relied upon by the tribunal to quash his client’s election was because of ways of correcting errors.
Dino further urged the court to disregard the tribunal’s verdict relying on the detected over voting on the ground that the figures were not in concordance with the numbers of voters in the affected wards and local government areas.