ABUJA---The Kogi State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, Wednesday, declared Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the validly elected Senator for Kogi West Senatorial District.
The three- man tribunal said in a unanimous decision deliveted by its Chairman, Justice Isa Sambo, that Melaye's petition lfailed because the petioners including the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Dino Melaye .because the ,petitioners did not adduce enough evidence to, susrain their claims.
It said that Adeyemi was rightfully returned as winner of the Senatorial election held in the state on November 16, 2019, as well as the supplementary election held on November 30, 2019.
According to the Chairman of the panel, Justice Khadi Adamu Usman who delivered the lead judgment, the petitioners were unable to prove that the election was not only characterized by manifest irregularities, but was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act.
It noted that whereas the election was conducted in 173 polling units, the petitioners, merely called witnesses in respect of 48 polling units, adding that despite the fact that the petitioner did not lead evidence in respect of 125 polling units, out of the 257 proposed witnesses, only 71 of them were bought to testify in the matter.
It further stated that most of the witnesses gave contradictory, conflicting, hearsay and unreliable evidence that was not capable of sustaining allegations raised by the petitioners in their suit.
Apart from this, the tribunal, rejected the evidence of the first petitioner, Melaye, describing it as contradictory and unreliable and then dismissed the case for lack of merit..
“The position of the law is that once an election result has been declared by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the result enjoys the presumption of regularity of the result as the burden is on the person challenging the result or the return to lead evidence to prove that the result to disprove the result.
“The petitioners failed to discharge this burden by proving their allegation of irregularities in accordance with the requirement of the law.
“This tribunal is of the firm believe that Exhibits P39 (1) & (2) are the only results known to law regarding the election held on the 16th of November 2019 and that supplementary election held on the 30th of November 2019.
“Having meticulously perused the averments in petition, the replies filed by the respondent sand the replies on point of law filed by the petitioners, and all the testimonies of the witnesses called by the petitioners, and read the final written addresses filed by all the counsel and the replies on point of law filed thereon, the tribunal is convinced that the petitioners failed in discharging the burden of proving their petition.
“The tribunal finds that the petitioners failed to lead credible evidence to prove their allegations,/." Usman .also stated.