The Senator representing Kogi West in the 8th National Assembly, Dino Melaye, has alleged that the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and immediate-past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), have closed ranks and unite against him in his case at the election tribunal.
Melaye told journalists that a senior editor in Abuja close to Tinubu has allegedly forwarded the legal brief filed by a former President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and former chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Smart Adeyemi to Adoke, asking the ex-AGF to look for a Judge in the Court of Appeal that would “offer assistance.”
The lawmaker was said to have incurred the wrath of Tinubu after refusing to backdown from supporting the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, during the recently concluded election of leaders in the 8th National Assembly.
Melaye said, “I have no regret supporting Senator Saraki and my electoral victory was ordained by God and not by man; therefore, no mortal can reverse it.
“In God I trust, no matter how desperate they might be. I am privy to an electronic mail sent to Adoke by an Abuja-based senior editor who is close to Tinubu in which he forwarded the court papers filed by Smart Adeyemi at the tribunal to Adoke. In the said e-mail, Adoke was told to look for a trusted Justice in the Court of Appeal who would be useful for Smart Adeyemi.”
The Election Petition Tribunal in Lokoja had upheld the election of Melaye who was elected on the platform of the APC, by dismissing the petition filed by Adeyemi for lacking in merit.
Delivering judgment in the suit, chairman of the three-member tribunal, Justice Akon Ikpeme, had described the petition by Adeyemi, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as “incurably defective.”
According to Justice Ikpeme, the petition ran contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended).
The judge held that election petition matters were time-bound and do not permit resorting to time wasting, adding that replying out of time as stipulated in the Electoral Act is a sign of abandonment and, therefore, cannot be entertained.
She said findings have shown that there is no alternative to dismissing the petition from the petitioner, having gone through all the processes and seen that the reply to preliminary objection was filed out of the stipulated time and that pursuing the matter would be a mere academic exercise.
“In the final analysis, we find and hold that this petition is incompetent for the reason that the reply to the preliminary objection was out of time on the matter which this tribunal is not vested with jurisdiction to continue”, she said.
Adeyemi had taken Melaye to the National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Lokoja, citing alleged irregularities in the conduct of the election as well as the result declared by INEC on March 28, 2015.
The conclusion of the Judge was that “the case be dismissed as abandoned.”
Over 131 legal practitioners including Messers Ricky Terfa (SAN); Femi Falana (SAN) and civil rights activist, Festus Keyamo, have offered free legal services to Senator-elect for Kogi West Senatorial District, Otunba Dino Melaye.
Melaye defeated Adeyemi and was subsequently given certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
However, Tinubu’s media adviser, Sunday Dare denied Melaye’s allegation saying Tinubu has neither seen nor spoken with Adoke for long.
“This is another lie from their kitchen of malicious lies. They are all over the social and traditional media spewing lies and planting stories. We are not about that. Nigerians are not as gullible as they think.
“They will not succeed because the APC belongs to the Nigerian people. This blackmail like other ones will not work. It cannot stick. Adokie? Who is he? Tinubu cannot recall when last he saw him or even spoke with him.”