On Friday, October 11, 2019, a three-man panel of justices of the appeal court in Abuja, led by Justice Yahaya Dattijo dismissed Senator Dino Melaye’s application challenging the August 24 judgment of the Kogi State National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal, which had bullied the February 23, Kogi West Senatorial election and ordered fresh elections.
In a unanimous judgment, the court held that Senator Melaye of PDP, could not prove the allegations that he was not given a fair hearing by the Tribunal.
It, therefore, upheld the majority judgment of the Tribunal that the petitioner, Senator Smart Adeyemi of APC, proved the allegations of malpractices, mutilation of result sheet, and over-voting.
The court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in the district within 90 days from the date of its judgement.
Both Senator Dino Melaye and Senator Smart Adeyemi have been talking tough ahead of the fresh elections to once again determine who would represent Kogi West in the Nigerian Senate.
Senator Dino Melaye in his typically colourful style and ebullient nature, has reacted to the Appeal Court judgement that upheld the nullification of the Kogi West Senatorial election and ordered a fresh poll within 90days.
The lawmaker announced his defeat at the appeal court in the tweet below:
I just lost my election at the Appeal Court and Fresh election ordered. In all things I give God the Praise. He who started a good thing will definitely complete it. I ask my supporters to be law abiding as we shall always overcome. To God be the Glory.
— Senator Dino Melaye. (SDM) (@dino_melaye) October 11, 2019.
Also, in a short Instagram video he made, after the tweet, while responding to the Court ordered fresh election, Senator Dino Melaye had this to say about his main rival Senator Smart Adeyemi: “I’ve said it time and time again and i’m repeating it again. That Smart Adeyemi is my political wife. I was in APC, I contested against him in the PDP and I defeated him. I came over to PDP and he went to APC and I defeated him again. That’s two zero. We are going for the third time and it will be a hat trick. I’ll score the third goal,” Senator Melaye gushed with brimming confidence.
And he would then release a comprehensive press statement which reads thus:
“Let your hearts not be troubled, believe in God believe also His prophets.
A court judgement is human judgment, I believe in divine I mean God’s judgment.
It is absolutely well. No worries, no tension, no pains. I celebrate God for he is always a good God.
At the end, His name will be glorified. He is not a man that He will lie. I’m a winner every time.
There is a final verdict and it is the verdict of God. Peace peace peace.
Today, I speak over my life and my household that the peace of God that surpasses understanding will garrison across our hearts.
I am not shaken nor moved. I trust in God completely.
I lean not on my own understanding; I acknowledge Him in all my ways, and I am directed of the Lord and led by the Spirit.
I see my way through; I walk a path devoid of pitfalls. I look to the Lord my God, and I will not see shame.
I am delivered from destruction and dereliction. I am saved to serve and strengthened for life.
God is merciful to me, and I have received the grace of the Lord my God. I have favour.
Nothing is against me. Men are favourably disposed to me in every situation. I am accepted and not rejected.
Nothing blocks my path to success; I am not a failure, and greatness is attracted to me. I activate the will of the Father and insist that today is the day of His power.
I am willing; God is at work, in me, to will and to do all His good pleasure. I win always. My prayers are answered, and my requests are granted. “My eye is single, and my body is full of light”.
Sorrows and tears are far from me. I have peace; my struggles cease; my frustrations, fears, and frailties give way; and I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
My tomorrow is greater and better than my yesterday. I shine like the star that I am.
I am blessed with every blessing heavenly, in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I am blessed with the blessing of the sand and stars.
I increase on all sides. In Jesus’s name, I believe and say amen.
Senator Dino Melaye
Not to be outdone in the preliminary grandstanding and ego massaging post-Appeal Court judgment shadow boxing, Senator Smart Adeyemi, who also commands his own flamboyant style and poignant vocabulary, delivered his own fighting talk and boasted that he would beat Senator Melaye arms down in the forthcoming Kogi West Senatorial zone fresh election, claiming, in a short message made available yo the media, that Senator Dino Melaye had never won any elections in the past, but only manipulations.
“Dino has never won any election, it’s all manipulations. But the judiciary has further reinstated our hope and that it’s the last hope of the masses.”
He then stated categorically that there was no basis for comparison between him and Dino Melaye and he was sure of clinching the Kogi West Senatorial seat ticket in any fresh election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“There’s no basis for comparison between me and Dino. If INEC conducts election again, I will beat him arms down ,” Adeyemi stayed with authority.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state has also weighed in on the Appeal court judgment ordering fresh election in Kogi West Senatorial zone, rejoicing expectedly over the Court’s declaration nullifying Dino Melaye’s Election In Kogi West.
In a statement by his spokesperson, Mohammed Onogwu, on after the Court’s decision on Friday, Bello said the judgement upheld his earlier position that the opposition PDP rigged the elections, even as he praised the judiciary for being “unbiased, independent and impartial.”
According to the Governor, “In spite of the intimidation, unnecessary accusations and rumour-mongering, the tribunal and the Court Of Appeal have lived up to their expectations by dispensing justice without fear or favour.
”For upholding the petition by Senator Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and ordering that a fresh election be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the constituency, the tribunal, led by Justice A.O. Chijioke and the Appeal Court have jointly proved to the world that the people’s mandate was stolen in the last Kogi West Senatorial Election.
“The courts did not decide in a vacuum but acted on the basis of the merits and demerits of the case before them.
“The appeal court and the entire judiciary, therefore, deserves our commendation for further strengthening the democratic and electioneering processes in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, there are speculations that fresh election for Kogi West Senatorial seat, may be conducted on Nov 16, the same already scheduled for the 2019 Kogi state governorship election.
News Agency of Nigeria NAN, reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission has hinted that it will explore the possibility of using the November 16 governorship election in the state, to conduct the fresh election for the Kogi West Senatorial seat ticket ordered by the Court of Appeal.
The INEC National Commissioner in charge of Kogi, Nasarawa and Kwara states, Mohammed Haruna, dropped the hint in Lokoja, while briefing newsmen on the Court of Appeal judgment nullifying the February 24 National Assembly election in the zone.
Haruna averred that since the governorship election was still 34 days away, there was the possibility for the Kogi West Senatorial election to slated for the same day as well, in a move that will invoke the proverbial killing two birds with one stone.
The INEC national commissioner was in Lokoja for a workshop on fake news organised for media executives, journalists and bloggers by the International Foundation for Electoral System, in collaboration with INEC, also dismissed concerns of card reader manipulations as in the forthcoming elections, describing it as “practically impossible,” and while assuring that the commission would ensure transparency and provide a level playing ground for all candidates in all elections, including the Kogi West Senatorial seat poll, whenever it was conducted, appealed to politicians and their followers to play the game according to rules.