Dino Melaye: Tribunal's verdict, a kangaroo judgement?

Following the removal of the embattled Senator Dino Melaye on Friday, many social commentators among other political analysts have described the verdict as a miscarriage of justice due to its lack of merit.

Recall that the Kogi West Senatorial District election conducted on Saturday, 23rd of Febraury 2019 saw Dino Malaye emergger winner with a total of 85, 395 votes to defeat his APC opponent, Smart Adeyemi who scored 66, 902 votes.

However, the election tribunal sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State, has nullified the election of Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi West on grounds that there were some irregularities, over voting-compliance among other reasons stated by the candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Smart Adeyemi.

In reaction, the tribunal in an unanimous judgment on Friday, therefore, upheld Former Senator's Adeyemi's ground and ordered for fresh election in the senatorial district.

It is against this backdrop that I write to draw our attention to what many perceived as 'a kangaroo judgement' and should be properly looked at if only we must defend the posterity of our democracy.

For instance, under the amended Constitution, the jurisdiction of the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunals is limited to determining whether a person has been validly elected to the National Assembly or the House of Assembly of a state within a stipulated time provided by the law. The question on the bear is, why does the tribunal waited this long to void the results of the election conducted since February on grounds of irregularities? I think the chairman of the tribunal and his quorum should be sincere enough to explain to the public why the judgement is just being declared with less than three months to the guber election in the state.

The declaration of a fresh poll in a single Senatorial District where irregularities were perceived is not as valid as calling for fresh polls across the three senatorial districts in the state. Reason being that, some observers had earlier void the last election in the state as violent and incredible due to the malpractices noticed with reference to the several attacks of some party members (as alleged by the two leading parties, APC and PDP) before, during and after the election.

In summary, we must wait in good faith as event unfolds particularly with the forthcoming election slated for November 16. There is still more to the judgement than accepting either defeat or celebrating excessively by the two parties involved. We must be conscious of the fact that the supremacy of the rule of law is what matters most and should prevail in this regards.

Arogbonlo Israel writes from Lagos

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