The summary of the court case involving Senator Dino Melaye of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Senator Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria’s ruling party, which continued on Monday, May 20 at the election tribunal sitting in in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
At the resumption of hearing on Monday, Senator Smart, the APC candidate in Kogi West senatorial district, closed his case before the National and State Assembly Election Tribunal that is adjudicating on the February 23 National Assembly election.
Senator Smart was challenging the declaration of the incumbent lawmaker, Senator Melaye (1st respondent), as the winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s electoral umpire.
Toyin Adeniyi, counsel to the petitioner, called three witnesses to further prove that Melaye did not win the election and should not have been declared the winner of the election.
The witnesses called by Adeniyi were Adeyemi, who was the star witness, the Director-General, Adeyemi Campaign Organisation, Adoga Ibrahim, and the Kogi west zonal Chairman of APC, Ropo Asala, who were also cross-examined by the respondents’ counsels.
At the sitting, Adeyemi informed the tribunal that the Kogi High Court judgement had declared that elections collation, announcement and other matters as regarded Kogi west election should be carried out at the district headquarters in Kabba and not in Lokoja.
The petitioner told the tribunal that the change of collation centre by INEC from Kabba to Lokoja allowed the respondents to engage in alleged manipulations, tampering, mutilations of results sheets and other irregularities witnessed in the election results.
This online news platform understands that Adeyemi also called on the court to admit the certified true copy of the list of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) distributions originated by INEC in the senatorial axis.
Responding, Melaye’s party, PDP (second respondent) and INEC (third respondent), did not challenge the admissibility of the High court judgment but asked the tribunal to reject that of the PVC distribution because it was not “listed or front-loaded” by the petitioners at the beginning of the petition.
Justice O. A Chijoke, the Chairman of the three-man panel, admitted the court judgment as evidence but declined the PVC distribution, saying it should be marked as “tendered but rejected.”
Subsequently, the election tribunal adjourned the case to June 10 and gave the respondents 15 days to open and close their defence.