Tribunal Update: I Didn’t Issue Any Statement Accusing Appeal Court Justices – Dino Melaye

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The crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC), thickened on Tuesday with the Senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, Otunba Dino Melaye, denouncing publications allegedly authored by his political detractors to pitch him against the judiciary and Justices of the Court of Appeal, describing them as lies.

He therefore asked the public to ignore any media publication accusing the judiciary or Appeal Court Justices.

This is coming barely one month after he alleging that the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and immediate-past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), had decided to close ranks and unite against him in his case at the election tribunal.

He incurred the wrath of Tinubu after refusing to backdown from supporting the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, during the recently concluded election of leaders in the 8th National Assembly.

The legislator in a statement in Abuja entitled: “My political opponents Again”, said his detractors have decided to pitch him against the judiciary and Justices of the Court of Appeal through fictitious allegations using his name.

He said, “My attention has been drawn to a malicious, fallacious and deliberate lie to pitch me against the judiciary through a recent publication by a certain Phrank Shuaibu in THE NATION Newspaper hired by my political opponents and another press release said to have been released by me disparaging and accusing the Judiciary and Justices of the Court of Appeal.

“I want to state unequivocally that this deliberate falsehood by desperate and wicked politicians is not only a lie but a plan to sidetrack the judiciary in the ongoing election tribunal case between me and Senator Smart Adeyemi in the Court of Appeal. I did not issue any press statement on the ongoing matter .

“I want to say that the Nigerian judiciary is too sophisticated to be sidetracked by desperate people of inordinate ambition. I call on the judiciary and the public to neglect and disregard these desperadoes as I have tremendous respect and regard for the judiciary, especially under the current Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). I believe in the rule of law and have confidence in the judiciary that I have partnered with over the years in the fight against corruption.”

Melaye had told journalists that a senior editor in Abuja close to Tinubu had allegedly forwarded the legal brief filed by a former President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Peoples Democratic Party candidate candidate, Senator Smart Adeyemi to Adoke, asking the ex-AGF to look for a Judge in the Court of Appeal that would “offer assistance.”

But the Media Adviser to Tinubu, Mr. Sunday Dare, had denied the allegation saying Tinubu has neither seen nor spoken with Adoke for long.

He had said, “This is another lie from their kitchen of malicious lies. They are all over the social and traditional media spewing lies and planting stories. We are not for that; Nigerians are not as gullible as they think. They will not succeed because the APC belongs to the Nigerian people. This blackmail like other ones will not work. It cannot stick. Adokie? Who is he? Tinubu cannot recall when last he saw him or even spoke with him.”

The Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal in Lokoja had upheld the election of Melaye who was elected on the platform of the APC.

The Tribunal had dismissed the petition filed by Adeyemi for lacking in merit.

Delivering judgment in the suit, chairman of the three-member tribunal, Justice Akon Ikpeme, had described the petition by Adeyemi, the candidate of PDP as “incurably defective.”

According to Justice Ikpeme, the petition ran contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended).

The judge had held that election petition matters were time-bound and do not permit resorting to time wasting, adding that replying out of time as stipulated in the Electoral Act is a sign of abandonment and, therefore, cannot be entertained.

She said findings have shown that there is no alternative to dismissing the petition from the petitioner, having gone through all the processes and seen that the reply to preliminary objection was filed out of the stipulated time and that pursuing the matter would be a mere academic exercise.

“In the final analysis, we find and hold that this petition is incompetent for the reason that the reply to the preliminary objection was out of time on the matter which this tribunal is not vested with jurisdiction to continue”, she said.

Adeyemi had taken Melaye to the tribunal citing alleged irregularities in the conduct of the election as well as the result declared by INEC on March 28, 2015.

Over 131 legal practitioners including Messers Ricky Terfa (SAN); Femi Falana (SAN) and civil rights activist, Festus Keyamo, have offered free legal services to Senator-elect for Kogi West Senatorial District, Otunba Dino Melaye.

Melaye defeated Adeyemi and was subsequently given certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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