Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Lokoja has upheld the March 28, election of Senator Dino Melaye of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as duly elected senator for Kogi West senatorial district of the state.
The Chairman of the three-member tribunal, Justice Bassey Ikpeme delivered the judgment of the tribunal in Lokoja on Monday, dismissing the petition filed by Senator Smart Adeyemi and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for lack of merit.
Senator Adeyemi had in the petition against Melaye, APC and INEC as 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents sought five reliefs, which include nullification and withdrawal of Melaye’s Certificate of Return and declaring him (petitioner) as winner with the highest number of valid votes cast.
Senator Adeyemi based the petition on three grounds including: Substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended); 1st respondent not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast and non-qualification to contest the election at the time he (1st respondent) did.
Also, the petitioners alleged malpractices, falsification of results and fraudulent allocation of votes to the APC in collusion with the INEC officials, among others.
The tribunal formulated four fundamental questions for determination of the petition and held that no credible evidence was put forward to prove substantial non-compliance with section 131 of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended.
Justice Ikpeme also held that petitioners also failed to prove alleged malpractices and all the criminal connotations beyond reasonable doubt or that their existence, if at all, vitiated substantially, the outcome of the election.
On non-conduct of party primaries alleged by the petitioners, the tribunal held that Melaye was a product of a validly conducted APC primary which took place on December 8, 2014 at Kabba Township Stadium witnessed by INEC and result fully attested to by INEC.
Meanwhile, Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Ilorin, Kwara state will today (Tuesday) deliver judgement in a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate in the March 28 Kwara Central Senatorial election, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, against Dr. Bukola Saraki of the All Progressives Congress, APC Led by Justice Josiah Majebi , in the three-man tribunal panel, the PDP candidate petition which was marked NAT/LEG/EPT/IL/2/2015 is challenging Senator Saraki’s victory, claiming that he won majority votes and he should be declared winner.
Also, the Akwa Ibom State National Assembly Tribunal sitting in Abuja will today decide on the petition of the All Progressive Congress APC candidate, Chief Inibehe Okori, against the election of the former governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, in which he said was characterised by irregularities. Nigerian Pilot gathered that the expectations are high in Akwa Ibom over the verdict today.
Other matters are according to Nigerian Pilot’s checks are; Lola Ashiru VS Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara South Senatorial District); while two others, Babatunde Olusola VS Olufunke Adedoyin and Tajudeen Abioye Vs Tope Olayonu are House of Representatives cases.
It was gathered from lawyers involved in the matters that the tribunal had communicated the judgment date to them as promised by the chairman on September 4, 2015 when final written addresses were adopted.
While adopting his final written address, Counsel to Saraki, Mallam Yusuf Ola-Olu Ali (SAN) had asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition, saying the petitioner failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.
Mallam Ali also observed that a Forensic Report tendered in evidence was dated March 28, 2014, a year before the contested poll was conducted.
“The date shows the document was prepared in anticipation of the election,” the legal luminary submitted.
He also said that the four volume of forensic analysis report suffered “incurable and fundamental afflictions”
He said the report was prepared by a Lagos based forensic analyst, Mrs. Nkolly Asika Obumse, who is also the wife of Abdulrasaq’s counsel, Francis Obumse.
Also, counsels to INEC and APC, second and third respondents, Abdulwahab Bamidele and Alarape Salman, SAN, respectively, agreed with Ali’s submission, praying the tribunal to dismiss the petition.
Francis Obumse who led petitioner’s counsels also adopted his final written address.‎

READ ALSO  $2.1bn arms deal: EFCC re-arraigns Dasuki, Bafarawa, others