Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
THE Kogi State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal yesterday upheld the election of Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the senator representing Kogi West.
Members of the three-man tribunal, led by Justice Isa Sambo, unanimously dismissed the petition filed by Dino Melaye and his political party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The tribunal held that the petitioners were unable to prove their allegation that the return of Adeyemi as winner of the election held on November 16, 2019 and the supplementary election held on November 30, 2019 was unlawful.
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Justice Khadi Adamu Usman, in the judgment, analysed the evidence led by the petitioners and concluded that they failed to prove their allegations that the election and the supplementary poll were marred by irregularity and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
The judge held that while the election was conducted in 173 polling units, the petitioners called witnesses for only 48 polling units, leaving 125 polling units for which the petitioners did not call witnesses.
He said while the petitioners had indicated the intention to call 257 witnesses, they only called 71 witnesses.
Justice Usman categorised the evidence of the petitioners’ witnesses into four: allegation of irreconcilable interest in the result form (Form EC8A1); alteration without counter-signing of Form EC8A1; allegation of mutilation of results, over-voting and inaccurate ballot paper accounting, as well as allegation of non-holding of election.
Reacting last night, Melaye said he would appeal the court verdict.