The Kogi State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal has admitted as evidence certified copies of the lists of Permanent Voters Cards’ owners for Lokoja and Ijimu Local Government Areas where alleged over-voting took place during the last February senatorial election.
A former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, Smart Adeyemi, has tendered the lists before the tribunal alongside a court judgment, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to collate results in Kabba, which is the headquarters of the district.
Adeyemi, who is battling the senator-elect for Kogi West, Dino Melaye at the tribunal for Kogi West Senatorial District, made the submissions through his legal team, led by Barr Dapo Otitoju.
Under cross-examination, Adeyemi told the tribunal that he alongside APC Kogi West Senatorial Chairman, Hon. Ropo Asala and other party agents were waiting in Kabba for the arrival of the Kogi West Senatorial collation and returning officers of the results from the seven local governments in Kogi West Senatorial District for the final collation and announcement only to be told that INEC officers had left for Lokoja.
“There were extreme mutilations, alterations of figures along Kabba- Lokoja highway where the results were illegally collated and announced,” he said.
After cross examining Adeyemi for nearly two hours, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice A. O. Chijioke authorized the acceptance of the Lokoja Federal High Court’s verdict as evidence.
The tribunal agreed with the submissions of Adeyemi’s counsel by admitting the decision of the court as Exhibit 106, which affirmed Kabba as the headquarters of Kogi West Senatorial District.
The INEC document on the distribution of PVCs in the two local governments was equally accepted as evidence against Sen. Melaye by the tribunal.
Adeyemi had sought a declaration that the Certificate of Return issued by the INEC to Melaye as the winner of Senatorial Election for Kogi West Senatorial District held on the 23 of February, 2019 is null and void and of no effect.
He asked for an order cancelling the results of the entire six local governments in the district.
Adeyemi further urged the tribunal to direct INEC to conduct a fresh election into the seat of Kogi West Senatorial District.”
But, Senator Melaye claimed that Adeyemi was suing a wrong person at the tribunal and asked the court to dismiss the application demanding the cancellation of his election.
He said: “Take notice 1st Respondent (Melaye) shall before or at the hearing of the Petition, urge this HonourabIe Tribunal by way of preliminary objection seek to dismiss or strike out the Petition for being grossly incompetent thereby depriving the Tribunal of jurisdiction to entertain same.
“Take further notice that the 1st Respondent (Melaye) as stated herein is not a party interested in the election petition. The person sued as 1st Respondent herein is not the person who was returned as winner of the election, the subject matter of this Petition.
“The person who was returned as the winner of the election, the subject matter of this petition is Melaye Daniel Dino, and not Senator Dino Melaye, contrary to the mandatory provision of paragraph 4(1) (a) of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).”