Melaye, losing to Adeyemi, petitions INEC over Kogi West election

Dino

Melaye and Adeyemi

Melaye and Adeyemi:

Sen. Dino Melaye, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Kogi West Senatorial poll, has called for the cancellation of the Nov. 16 election.

Melaye made the call in a petition submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at its headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday.

In the election, in which INEC has not declared the winner, Melaye is trailing his All Progressives Congress rival, Smart Adeyemi by over 20,000 votes.

The returning officer, Professor Olayinde Lawal, declared the election inconclusive, though Adeyemi led Melaye with 20,570 votes, by scoring 80,118 votes, while Melaye scored 59, 548 votes.

INEC wants to conduct a supplementary poll in polling centres, where elections were cancelled because of violence or some irregularities. About 43,000 votes are up for grabs in the election, the date of which INEC has not announced.

The petition addressed to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was received by INEC National Commissioner, Mr Festus Okoye and the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony.

Melaye said he had also copied INEC National Commissioner supervising Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa.

He said that attached to the petition were 21 video CDs and documentary evidence to prove that there was no election in Kogi West on Nov. 16.

“The object of my petition is that I am demanding for the entire cancellation of the election.

“The demand is based on electoral malpractices, violence, ballot boxes stocking, the use of helicopters to intimidate voters among other electoral crime committed on Nov. 16,’’ he said.

Melaye alleged that the election results were manipulated and many lives were lost, including that of his nephew who was killed by hoodlums.

He said that he also has pictorial evidence of violence that took place during the election and the collation process.

“This is not an election; we are going to take it up and fight for our right to finish,’’ Melaye said.

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He said in the petition, dated Nov. 18 and signed by his lawyer; Mr Tobechukwu Nweke that the 21 video discs captured total sabotage of the electoral process that marred the election in the area.

Melaye urged the commission to study painstakingly, the events captured in the said video discs, which reveal that election was not conducted in Kogi West and to cancel the entire election.

He alleged that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the dictates of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) as well as requisite Guidelines and Regulations issued for the election.

“We urge the commission to cancel the entire election for the Senate in Kogi West held on Nov. 16,’’ he said.

Melaye said that the claim that fake policemen operated during the election was condemnable.

“If fake police officers overpowered over 66,000 security officers deployed for Kogi and Bayelsa, it means there is a problem in the country.

“If the police officers were fake, were the guns and bullets used, fake?

“Were fake policemen driving police vehicles and helicopters?’’ Melaye asked.

Okoye who received the letter on behalf of INEC Chairman assured Melaye that the commission would look into the petition.

He said that the commission would review the petition and the video CDs, consider the merit and get back to Melaye.

“We assure you that the commission is a public institution.

“We exist because political parties exist and because Nigerian people want democracy.

“We are going to collect your petition and the Chairman and his National Commissioners will look at it and we assure you that we are going to continue to serve Nigerian people and do justice in all circumstances,’’ Okoye said.