Controversial politician, Dino Melaye, is to face a fresh election into the Senate from the Kogi West Senatorial District.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday upheld the split verdict of the National/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in the state that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the February 23, 2019 polls was not validly elected.
It ordered a fresh election within 90 days.
Melaye said he was not worried by the verdict which he described as human judgment.
“I believe in divine, I mean God’s judgment,” he said in a statement.
He added: “It is absolutely well. No worries, no tension, no pains. I celebrate God for He is always a good God.”
Mr. Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who dragged Melaye to court, claimed that the dethroned senator “has never won any election; it’s all manipulations.”
Governor Yahya Bello of Kogi State welcomed the court’s decision as a clear attestation that the judiciary was solidly on course and working in line with the aspirations of the people.
In voiding Melaye’s election on Friday, the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal said that the polls outcome was invalid due to the discrepancies in dates indicated in the result sheets produced by the INEC.
The court noted that while the election was conducted on February 23, 2019, the result sheets had February 25, 2019 written as the date of the election.
The Court of Appeal is the final court in national and state legislative election cases.
The election tribunal, led by Justice A.O. Chijioke, had, in its majority decision, upheld arguments by Adeyemi’s lawyer, Dapo Otitoju, to the effect that the election was flawed.
Otitoju had, while making his final submission on July 23, 2019, prayed the court to nullify the election on three grounds.
The first ground, the lawyer argued, was that the INEC’s decision to collate and announce the election results in Lokoja, despite a judgment of the Federal High Court, identifying Kabba as the headquarters of the senatorial district, was a negation of the Constitution and Electoral Acts which constitutes a substantial ground to nullify the election.
The lawyer argued that the INEC’s failure to abide by the judgment of the Federal High Court, which it did not appeal, showed it had a hidden agenda.
Otitoju argued that the presentation of the certified true copy of PVC distribution in Kogi West which revealed 48,200 excess votes in the result declared for the senatorial district was enough reason for the tribunal to nullify the election.
He urged the tribunal to take note of the mutilation of votes that was visible in the result sheets and argued that the mutilation was occasioned by the INEC’s change of the venue of collation centres.
The lawyer prayed the tribunal to void the election on the grounds that it was held in substantial non-compliance with the constitution, the Electoral Act and against the wishes of the people who voted.
Melaye’s counsel, Professor Joash Amupitan (SAN), prayed the tribunal to dismiss the petitioner, claiming that the documents presented by the petitioners were “mere hearsay documents.”
He urged the court to hold that his client was validly elected.
In all things I give praise to God —Dino
Soon after the verdict was delivered, Melaye took to his Twitter handle and said:
”In all things, I give God the praise. He who started a good thing will definitely complete it.
“I ask my supporters to be law-abiding as we shall always overcome. To God be the Glory.”
He followed it up with a statement he addressed to his supporters.
He said: “Let your hearts not be troubled; believe in God; believe also His prophets.
“A court judgment is human judgment. I believe in divine, I mean God’s judgment.
“It is absolutely well. No worries, no tension, no pains. I celebrate God for He is always a good God.
“At the end, His name will be glorified. He is not a man that will lie. I’m a winner every time.
“There is a final verdict and it is the verdict of God. Peace, peace, peace.
“Today, I speak over my life and my household that the peace of God that surpasses understanding will garrison across our hearts.
“I am not shaken nor moved. I trust in God completely.
“I lean not on my own understanding; I acknowledge Him in all my ways, and I am directed by the Lord and led by the Spirit.
“I see my way through; I walk a path devoid of pitfalls. I look to the Lord, my God, and I will not see shame.
“I am delivered from destruction and dereliction. I am saved to serve and strengthened for life.
“God is merciful to me, and I have received the grace of the Lord, my God. I have favour.
“Nothing is against me. Men are favourably disposed to me in every situation. I am accepted and not rejected.
“Nothing blocks my path to success; I am not a failure; and greatness is attracted to me. I activate the will of the Father and insist that today is the day of His power.
“I am willing; God is at work, in me, to will and to do all His good pleasure. I win always. My prayers are answered, and my requests are granted.
“My eye is single, and my body is full of light.
“Sorrows and tears are far from me. I have peace; my struggles cease; my frustrations, fears and frailties give way; and I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
“My tomorrow is greater and better than my yesterday. I shine like the star that I am.
“I am blessed with every blessing heavenly, in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I am blessed with the blessing of the sand and stars.
“I increase on all sides. In Jesus’s name, I believe and say amen.”
I‘ll beat Melaye in fresh election, says Adeyemi
Mr. Adeyemi, a former Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, is confident of coming tops in the rerun election with Melaye.
Adeyemi, who spoke with The Nation, said: “I am not afraid of poll rerun with Senator Melaye. He cannot defeat me in a free and fair election. He is no match any day. It is now obvious that he did not defeat me at the last poll.
”Dino Melaye has never won an election before. I thank God we have judges with a high level of integrity because the facts before them spoke for themselves. You don’t have to be a judge to see that the results were manipulated.
“Dino was the candidate that went to the Federal High Court in Lokoja, asking that the collation of results for the Kogi West Senatorial District should be done at the district headquarters in Kabba.
“While I and my supporters were in Kabba waiting for the results, having collected the actual results from all party agents, they went to announce mutilated results in Lokoja.
“The results were tampered with on their way from Kabba to Lokoja. The results announced in Lokoja were different from the ones we had.
“There was no doubt that Dino never won the election and he knew this. From what the INEC gave to us, it showed that Dino had votes from the pen, but not the votes of the people. In essence, they just wrote the figures.”
Responding to a question, he said: “It was during the cross-examination that the facts were revealed and presented to the tribunal.”
Adeyemi also said apart from his popularity among the masses in Kogi West, the political scenario has changed in the district.
He added: “It is a different ball game now in the Kogi West Senatorial District. The