Tension rocks the national headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Wednesday, November 27 as security operatives prevented Senator Dino Melaye and journalists from gaining access to submit whether described “additional petition.”
The camera of a Journalist was seized but later released when Melaye intervened.
Recall that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Candidate for the Kogi West Senatorial rerun election in Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye stormed INEC headquarters last week Wednesday, November 20 to express his dissatisfaction on the conduct of the Saturday election in which had reported incidences of violence and malpractice against him, his party-PDP and supporters.
Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the re-run election as inconclusive because the margin of win was less than the total cancelled votes.
Melaye, a former chairman, Senate Committee of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was received by the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who was represented by INEC Secretary, Mrs. Rose Oriaran-Anthony and National Commissioner/Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Mr. Festus Okoye.
Melaye, who came with 21 video clips, which he said contained details of violence and indiscriminate shootings by alleged agents of Kogi state government, with the connivance of security agents, told journalists that his determination to retrieve the stolen mandate “is a battle of no retreat, no surrender.”
He said his nephew and 15 others were killed by hoodlums allegedly sponsored by the APC and the state government.
The five-page petition by Melaye addressed to the INEC Chairman was dated November 18, 2019 and titled: “A call for cancellation of the Election for Kogi West Senatorial District held on November 16 2019 in certain areas”, was filed by his lawyer, Tobechukwu Nweke.
The petition reads in parts, “We have enclosed herewith 21 copies of video discs which captured wide spread violence, gunshots and killings, disruption of the election, snatching of ballots, multiple thumb printing, several electoral malpractices and irregularities and a total sabotage of the electoral process all of which marred the election to the Senate of Kogi West Senatorial District.
“Our client implores the Commission to study painstakingly, the events captured in the said video discs which reveal that election was not conducted in the senatorial district and to cancel the entire election to the Senate of Kogi West Senatorial District held on 16th November, 2019.
“Sequel to the abovementioned spread violence, gunshots and killings, disruption of the election, snatching of ballots, multiple thumb printing, several electoral malpractices, irregularities and total sabotage of the electoral process cut across all the seven local government areas in Kogi state which were demonstrated in the video footages attached herein, and the facts in paragraphs 1-5 above which reveals that the election was not conducted in Kogi West Senatorial District, in substantial compliance with the dictates of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) as well as the requisite Guidelines and Regulations issued for the election we urge the commission to cancel the entire election to the Senate of Kogi West Senatorial District held on November 16 2019.”.
Okoye who received the petition on behalf of Prof. Yakubu, said the commission would look into the petition and take necessary action, assuring that the commission remains non-partisan.
The commission, which had earlier said that it would later announce a date for supplementary election in the area, added that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Smart Adeyemi, scored 80,118 votes while the PDP candidate, Senator Dino Melaye, scored 59,548 votes.
According to the Returning Officer, Prof. Olayinde Lawal, the margin between the candidate of the APC and Melaye is 20,570 and lower than the 43,127 registered voters in 53 polling units of 20 registration areas in the zone where elections were cancelled.
On August 3, the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal led by A. O. Chijiok ordered a fresh election in the district following a petition filed by Senator Adeyemi, against Senator Melaye.