Appeal Court dismisses Melaye’s case against Adeyemi’s election

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The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed the appeal filed by former senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, challenging the victory of his successor, Senator Smart Adeyemi, at the November 2019 by-election.

The Justice Ibrahim Saulawa-led three-man bench, in its judgment on the appeal, affirmed the June 10, 2020 judgment of the Kogi State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, Abuja, upholding Adeyemi’s election.

The panel, before dismissing the appeal, unanimously resolved all the seven considered in the case against the appellants – Melaye and his party, the People’s Democratic Party.

It also awarded the cost of N50,000 against the appellants and in favour of the respondents.

Although, the tribunal had ruled in favour of Adeyemi in the conclusion of its judgment, the senator had filed a cross-appeal against some portions of the judgment he considered unfavourable.

But the Court of Appeal in a separate judgment, dismissed the cross-appeal for being incompetent as it was filed out of time.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal on disputes arising from state Houses of Assembly and National Assembly elections is the final, as further appeal to the Supreme Court is not permissible under the law.

The three-man panel of the tribunal led by Justice Isa Sambo, had on June 10, 2020 unanimously affirmed Adeyemi’s election as the winner of the disputed poll.

The rerun which held in 53 polling units on November 30, 2019 was ordered in the judgment of the Court of Appeal which nullified Melaye’s victory in the main election which earlier held in March 2019.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 88,373 votes as the winner of the poll.

INEC declared that he defeated Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party who polled 62,133.

But Melaye had in his petition urged the tribunal to declare him the winner of the election or order a fresh election.

Melaye with his party as co-petitioner had joined INEC, the APC and Adeyemi as the respondents to the petition.

But the tribunal held that both Melaye and his party failed to prove their claims in the petition.

It added that the petitioners failed to prove that the conduct of the election did not substantially comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

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