Efforts of Dino Melaye to upturned the November 16 Kogi West Rerun election won by Senator Smart Adeyemi suffered a serious setback on Monday as the tribunal refused the Petitioner’s (Melaye) prayer to admit or speak on the election materials used for the Rerun election.
Counsel to Dino Melaye, Prof. Adewale’s motion to allow his witness make a comment on the materials used for the election where strongly objected to by Counsels to INEC, Senator Adeyemi and APC who were 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents respectively.
The respondents counsels objected to the Petitioner’s witness giving evidence over the inspection of electoral materials as the witness statement was filled outside the stipulated time.
Counsel to APC, Barr. Abdulahi raised his objection thus, “Based on the refusal on prayer 2, no witness can speak for or on the inspection of the conduct of inspection on ballots papers made by the petitioner because that will be hearken to speaking on the reports which your lordship have refused. And no appeal was made since on the 10th day of March, 2020. Allowing this witness in giving evidence in this Tribunal will be more of your lordships overruling yourselves on prayer 2 because you’ve overruled them.
INEC counsel, Barr. Chris Lashey said, “My lord, I also have an objection to the witness statement on oath to be used by one Samuel John Mark. My objection is hinged on paragraph 4 (5&6) of the first scheduled of electoral act and section 285 (sub 5 ) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
“Your lordships can see the witness statement to be used was deposed to on the 26-02-2020 and filled on the same day. Your lordships can see that it was deposed outside the 21 days allowed by section 285 (sub 5 ) of the constitution therefore using this deposition of oath will extend the days permitted by the constitution to filed the petition. Your lordships based on the above the disposition cannot be used by the petitioner in this Court.
Counsel to Senator Smart Adeyemi, Dr. Otitoju Oladapo, on his own said, “My Lords this Honourable court refused prayer 2 of this applications in respect to permit the petitioner to bring in and make use of inspection report, it was refused on the bases that our reliance on paragraph 14, this witness is coming outside the time for filling which is 21 days.
“My Lords, the petitioner refused the amendment between the time frame. Haven’t failed to comply with the days speculated in the constitution my Lords will pray the plea should not be allow to be used by this Honourable court in this petition. This witness statement was neither deemed by the Tribunal and the order cannot act in retrospective.
“I urged your lordships to disallowed the petitioner. Haven’t failed to show the privileged of the law to apply his professional seal, I urge your lordships not to allowed what your lordships didn’t allowed through the main door to come in through the back door.”
Rulling on the application after much argument, the Tribunal asked the witness to step down from the box and rules in favour of the Respondents since the particular Petitioner’s prayer was not pleaded in their petition within the time frame as stated in the Constitution.
However, candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Dino Melaye turned the court sitting to a comedy when he stated that he was physically present in all the polling units in the Kogi West Senatorial axis during the rerun election.
Melaye who said he lives at No1 Iluafon quarters, Aiyetoro Gbede in Ijumu LGA, claimed to be a businessman while adopting his statement on oath as an evidence before the Tribunal also raised controversy about his real name.
Counsel to INEC, Barr. Chris Lashey had objected before the court not to admit the document presented by Melaye (aside guidelines and Election Manual), as they were just mere photocopies and public documents that cannot be allowed before the court.
Barr. Lashey when cross examining Melaye said Melaye Disposition objecting to INEC result for the election were based on mere hearsay from his agents.
“How many election have you contested to the National Assembly?
“How many did you win aside the November 16?Melaye: “Two, no, three “
“Who conducted the election?
“The voters that voted in Kogi West poll were they brought outside your senatorial district?
MELAYE: “No, because I don’t have celestial power to detect that.
“Are you a student of Law at Base University, Abuja?
“If you are asked a compulsory question in an exam, will you put it there that you don’t have celestial power to do that?
Melaye: “I have a choice”
“As a lawmaker after you voted in your unit during election where were you? Where exactly did you get the reports you claimed in your statement? Would I be correct to say your disposition in paragraph 7,8,12,14, 15, 16,17,19, 20-23 consecutively 25-30 ,32-34, then 40,46, 48-50,53,54,56,71,73,80-88 are all based on the information given to you by your Party, through or false?
Melaye: “I was everywhere on the election day in the 564 units”.
Counsel to Senator Smart Adeyemi, Dr. Oladapo Otitoju continued with the cross examination
“Can you tell this court where you voted?”
“In what unit?”
Melaye: “I don’t know”
“At the end of the election are you aware that there was result recorded in form EC8-D1?
Melaye: “I am not aware because there couldn’t have been election”
“You said election didn’t hold in the aforementioned poling units but your agents testified here that there was election?
Melaye: “I can’t speak for the agents, neither can my agents speak for me”
“Tell the Court your real name because you claimed you are not Daniel Dino Melaye?
Melaye: “In this case I am Melaye Daniel Dino.”
Melaye however said the court should return him as winner as the result presented by INEC declaring Senator Smart Adeyemi as winner was ‘fictitious’.
Melaye said from result given to him by his agents across the polling units shows that he was the winner, asking the court to rely on his own result and not that of INEC.
The case was adjourned to Tuesday, 21st April, 2020 for continuation of hearing.