CONTROVERSIAL Senator Dino Melaye the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District has been relieved of his position after an election tribunal nullified his mandate this morning and demanded fresh polls.
In February’s elections, Senator Melaye stood as the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) candidate and defeated Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by 85,395 votes to 66,901 votes. Consequently, Senator Melaye, who intends running for Kogi State governor later this year, took up his seat in the National Assembly.
However, Mr Smart challenged the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) and today, the tribunal ruled in his favour. In his petition, Mr Smart cited irregularities, over-voting and non-compliance with the dictates of the Nigerian Electoral Act.
After hearing his case, in a unanimous decision, the three-man panel led by Justice AO Chijioke ordered a re-election in the senatorial zone. However, Senator Melaye, said he will challenge the ruling at the Appeal Court.
Senator Melaye added: “Our mandate cannot be taken. We will get judgment at the Appeal Court. I will be governor and as for my senate mandate no shaking.”
In November this year, Kogi State will elect a new governor and Senator Melaye is hoping to clinch the PDP ticket in primaries soon due. If he wins he may be involved in a two-horse race with his long term foe Governor Yahaya Bello who is seeking the APC ticket in the hope that he will be re-elected for a second term.