By Boluwaji Obahopo

LOKOJA—All Progressives Congress, APC ,  senatorial candidate in the last general elections, Senator Smart Adeyemi, Kogi West, ,  has said his decision to challenge the declaration of Senator Dino Melaye as winner of the 2019 Senate election in Kogi West,  was because the result announced was not the true reflection of the votes cast,  but one allegedly manipulated by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Sen. Smart Adeyemi

Adeyemi spoke weekend at the inauguration of the National/House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal for Kogi State sitting at Court 3, Magistrate Court, Wuze zone, Abuja which had Justice O. A. Chijoke as chairman of the three -man panel.

Adeyemi claimed there were clear indication of alterations, cancelations, manipulations and other irregularities in the result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Aside that, he contended that INEC acted contrary to the February 15, 2019 Kogi High Court judgment which declared that elections collation and other matters regarding Kogi West should be carried out at the district headquarters in Kabba and not in Lokoja.

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According to him, “While we were gathered in Kabba, we were surprised when we heard that the collation of result has been taking to Lokoja. We hold bold to say that the change of venue for the result collation gave the PDP opportunity to alter and manipulate the result on their way to Lokoja. The case which Justice Okorowo made the ruling for collation of result to be held at the district headquarters in Kabba was instituted by Dino Melaye and the PDP; It certainly call for concerns that they can now sit comfortably for the change of venue.”

The former President of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ,  alleged that there were clear evidences in some local government areas that the number of vote cast exceeded the total number of Permanent Voter’ Cards, PVC, distributed in those council areas.

He wondered how that could be possible when voters could only vote with collected PVC.

Counsel to Adeyemi,  Adekunle Otitoju, who corroborated his client statement, said they had filled application for issuance of hearing notice on April 5th and received answers from the 1st and 3rd respondents (Dino and INEC respectively) and are ready to kick start hearing.

Otitoju said “the change of collation centre for the Kogi West election against court ruling and other irregularities observed runs contrary to the electoral law.  In pursuant to these issues that runs contrary against the regulation of election, our only prayer are that the election should be nullified and new one conducted”.

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