The Elections Petitions Tribunal in Lokoja on Thursday upheld the election of Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West), who was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
The Tribunal however dismissed the petition filed by a former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and former Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capitala Territory, Senator Smart Adeyemi, for lacking in merit.
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 the Independent National Electoral Commission on March 28, 2015.
But in its judgment, the tribunal dismissed the case for lacking in merit as the petitioner filed his papers very late.
The case was consequently dismissed for lack of merit because the plaintiff (Smart Adeyemi) filed his reply and preliminary objection late.
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, offered free legal services to Melaye.
Melaye defeated Adeyemi and was subsequently given the certificate of return by INEC.
Melaye expressed optimism that he would “beat Adeyemi silly at the tribunal”.
He had said: “This is not a season of boasts.
“I have defeated him and I will also defeat Smart Adeyemi because he is not on ground.
“Even if election is conducted 100 times, I will floor him.
“Over 128 lawyers, including two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, such as Ricky Terfa, Femi Falana and Festus Keyamo, have offered to give me free legal services (pro bono).”
In the petition filed by his counsel, J.O. Olatoke (SAN), in which INEC is the third respondent, Adeyemi had claimed that Melaye was not duly elected or returned by the majority of the lawful votes cast during the election, adding that he (Adeyemi) should be declared the winner.
The petitioner said he scored the majority of lawful votes cast during the election and ought to have been declared the winner.
According to the petitioner, the declaration of Melaye as winner was wrongful and invalid.
“Melaye was declared the winner of the election because of wrong and/or incorrect computation of lawful votes cast and intentional omission of collating results of the polling units won by the petitioners and counting of spoilt ballots in his favour,” Adeyemi stated.
He equally sought an order withdrawing or nullifying the CoR already issued to Melaye as the winner of the election and then directing INEC to issue a fresh CoR to him.