The Kogi state government has raised an alarm over plans by the People’s Democratic Party and its candidate, Senator Dino Melaye, to disrupt Saturday’s senatorial rerun in Kogi west.
The rerun is expected to take place in 52 polling units after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the November 16 election inconclusive due to reported cases of violence during and after the poll.
Special Adviser to Kogi State Governor on Security, Jerry Omodara, while briefing journalists on the arrangement put in place for the rerun election, alleged that Senator Melaye has arranged with hoodlums to force INEC to cancel the election.
He called on security agencies to hold the opposition party responsible if there are breaches that may hamper the integrity of the election.
Attempts by Channels Television to reach the PDP and Senator Melaye to clear the allegations failed as at the time of filing this report.
One of the candidates in Saturday’s supplementary election for the Kogi West Senatorial seat, Senator Dino Melaye of the PDP is not happy with the plans of the electoral umpire (INEC) and wants the exercise to be cancelled over what he describes as intimidation of voters and violence in the first conduct of the poll.
Senator Melaye today approached INEC again with yet another petition, asking the commission to act on his petition and not start preparing for a supplementary election.
The PDP candidate asked INEC to postpone the exercise, alleging that the electoral umpire did not include some of the polling units that were canceled during the November 16th election in the forthcoming supplementary poll.
No INEC national commissioner was present to receive Senator Melaye’s petition, however, a senior officer in the office of the INEC chairman, Mr. Jafaru Leko received the petition.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has kicked against reported calls by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Senator Dino Melaye in the Kogi West Senatorial rerun election to cancel the poll due to cases of violence.
The APC, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, stressed that the November 30 supplementary election scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will hold, irrespective of calls.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed November 30 for the Senatorial supplementary election in Kogi West district. The PDP has predictably gone to town with the usual lamentations on the forthcoming supplementary election. The PDP has even threatened to boycott the election. Who is fooling who?
“Nobody is fooled by the PDP’s statement boycotting the supplementary election. The All Progressives Congress (APC) will not drop its guard in our quest to get a clear majority of the remaining votes in the affected units.”
The party added that Senator Smart Adeyemi’s victory will spell doomsday for the PDP while charging security agencies and the INEC to ensure that the supplementary election is free from violence and rigging.
“As the wide margin of valid votes from the November 16 exercise show, it is clear that Dino Melaye and the PDP have lost the election. PDP’s doomsday will surely not be postponed a second time. Come November 30, the APC candidate, Senator Smart Adeyemi will reclaim his earlier stolen mandate.
“How many times does the PDP need to be reminded that APC has not and will not copy the PDP’s inglorious tactics of using state institutions, particularly INEC, the judiciary and security agencies to manipulate the electioneering process?
“We call on INEC and relevant security agencies to ensure that everything needed to make the November 30 senatorial supplementary election in Kogi transparent, free, credible and safe is put in place,” the statement added.
Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Kogi West Senatorial District election, Smart Adeyemi, says he will beat Senator Dino Melaye arms down in the fresh elections ordered by the Court of Appeal in a ruling on Friday.
Senator Melaye lost his appeal on the grounds that his application challenging the judgment of the Tribunal could not prove the allegations that he was not given a fair hearing.
Senator Adeyemi in a short message alleged that Senator Melaye had never won any election, owing to manipulations.
“Dino has never won any election, it’s all manipulations. But the judiciary has further reinstated our hope and that it’s the last hope of the masses.”
He further stated that both Melaye and he have no comparison, and he is sure of clinching the ticket in fresh polls conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“There’s no basis for comparison between me and Dino, if INEC conducts election again, I will beat him arms down.”
Meanwhile, Senator Melaye, in reaction to the judgment which sacked him as the lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district, said, “Court judgment is human judgment, I believe in the divine I mean God’s judgment.”
Senator Dino Melaye on Friday announced that he has rejected the appointment as the Director-General of the Kogi State Governorship Campaign Council by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Melaye disclosed this on Friday on his official Twitter handle @dino_melaye.
“Let me state categorically that I have turned down the position of Director-General of the PDP Kogi State Governorship Campaign Council.
“I wish PDP all the best. When truth is a casualty there is chaos,” Senator Melaye tweeted.
Let me state categorically that I have turned down the position of Director-General of the PDP Kogi State Governorship Campaign Council. I wish PDP all the best. When truth is a casualty there is chaos. Senator Dino Melaye
On Tribunal judgement. No cause 4 alarm at all. Even if it went my way they will still go to the Appeal Court. Our mandate can not be taken. We will get judgment at the Appeal Court. There will be fresh election in Kogi West bc I will be Governor. For my Senate mandate no shaking
Melaye also released a statement and described the tribunal ruling as a total miscarriage of justice.
“The judgement is full of importation of information that is alien to the case. I, however, commend the courage and moral strength of the chairman of the tribunal for resisting evil and standing on the path of justice.
“I have confidence in the Appeal Court to right the wrongs contained in the pronouncements of the judgement,” he said.
Melaye in the statement also added that “I also want to tell those jubilating that their jubilation will be short-lived while appealing to my teeming supporters to remain calm as their mandate is safe and secured and cannot be taken through any mischievous means.”
The Senator said his legal team is already working on appealing the judgment.
Senator Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared a winner in the February 2019 National Assembly election but Senator Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) approached the tribunal and challenged Dino’s victory.
Adeyemi cited irregularities, over voting and non-compliance with the electoral acts as his reasons for challenging the election outcome.
The tribunal in a unanimous judgment on Friday, therefore, upheld Senator Adeyemi’s ground and ordered for fresh election in the senatorial district.
Melaye in a reaction has however vowed to appeal the ruling. He noted that he is confident in the Appeal Court.
Senator Dino Melaye has promised to make himself available to the police next week.
The lawmaker representing Kogi West constituency, in a phone interview with Channels Television on Friday, said he is not a criminal and has no reason to run from the police.
He explained that the police invasion of his residence was unnecessary and that he will report himself to the police as soon as he returns to Abuja.
“I was informed that my house has been invaded. Over 40 policemen inside the compound and over 50 outside the gate. My staff were molested, beaten and handcuffed and taken away.
“Presently I’m outside Abuja. I’m a Senator of the Federal Republic of Abuja, I cannot run away. I will make myself available as soon as I’m back to town next week. I am not a criminal, I have not done anything wrong,” he said.
Melaye also accused the police of disobeying court order to release his international passport to him. According to him, a court order has said that his passport should be released by the police.
“The police have arraigned me in seven courts already. There is a judgement that my passport be given to me. For the past five months, the court order on the IG to return my passport they have refused to obey that order.
“Since April, my security details have been withdrawn by the Nigerian police. The resolution of the Senate for them to restore that have been ignored, all these is to expose me to attack and make me vulnerable.
“But God has been protecting me, he has been my shield and buckler, I cannot run away. I’m not a criminal, I will make myself available to the force headquarters as soon as I return on Monday,” he added.
Melaye in a series of tweets on Friday earlier announced that his residence was under siege by the police. He said all entrances to his Abuja residence was secured by the police under claims there is no order to arrest me.
Also, the younger brother of the Senator, Moses Melaye, explained on Friday that the surveillance team of the Nigerian Police Force came to the residence with some of their men in uniform and in mufti.
The Nigerian Police Force on Wednesday arraigned Senator Dino Melaye before an Abuja High Court sitting in Apo.
The lawmaker was arraigned on six counts bordering on attempted suicide, attempt to escape from custody and damage of police property.
The prosecution counsel, Alex Izinyonu, said Melaye escaped from police custody on April 24, 2018, after he broke the glass on the second window of a bus belonging to the Police, using his left elbow.
The lawmaker was said to have jumped into a waiting vehicle, an action which the Police says amounted to an offence punishable under section 327 of the Penal Code Law. He said the defendant while being conveyed in a police vehicle to Lokoja, forced his way out of the bus and escaped.
Melaye, who represents Kogi West senatorial zone, denied committing the offences.
The trial judge, Silvanus Oriji granted him bail in the sum of N5million.
Oriji also ordered Melaye to produce two sureties in like sum, as part of the bail condition. He ordered that the sureties must be directors in the civil service, reside in the FCT, and depose to affidavits of means.
Senator Melaye is among the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators that recently decamped from the ruling party to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In reaction to the question on which platform and the political party he would be contesting to retain his seat in 2019, Melaye said, “When we get to that bridge, we shall cross it.”
“Definitely I would be contesting on the platform of a political party since the issue of independent candidature has not been signed by the President. But to tell you if it is APC or any other political party, for now, I can’t say.”
Speaking on the relationship between the executive arm of government and the legislature, Melaye said it is normal in a democratic government for friction to occur between both arms of government.
“If you expect a romance between the executive and the legislature, then you are no longer in democracy. We can partner to make Nigeria progress but there is not supposed to be any romance,” he said, adding that the role of the national assembly to check the excesses of the executive.
“When you see two friends going into the same room and they come out laughing, then they are deceiving themselves.”
“What is happening is not abnormal, what is happening in the constitutional duty of the legislature to check the roles of the executive,” Melaye added.
This is not the first time Senator Melaye will be criticising his party, APC, openly.
He had earlier said he is not comfortable sitting with his fellow APC lawmakers at the Senate House of Assembly.
Upon resumption of plenary on Wednesday, May 30, after battling with police and being on admission in the hospital, he had opted to sit with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers, a decision which resulted in rowdy at the Red Chambers.
Senator Melaye specifically requested to sit next to former Senate President David Mark who is in the opposition party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to enable him to recover fully from trauma suffered while in Police custody.
“I want to crave your indulgence that you would call on the Sergeant-at-arms to look for a comfortable seat for me on this side of the divide because I am no longer comfortable sitting here.
“So, I want to ask Mr President that you mandate the Sergeant-at-arms to look for a seat for me on this side of the divide of the Chamber. Before you do that, today, through the help of my walking stick, I will take a comfortable seat close to Papa, Senator David Mark pending when you get me a comfortable seat on this side,” Melaye said.
The police in a statement on Wednesday said Melaye was re-arrested for his pending offences of criminal conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms.
The statement which was signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood explained that Melaye will be arraigned without further delay.
“The Police investigation team re-arrested Senator Dino Melaye today, 2nd May 2018 after his arraignment at Chief Magistrate Court, Wuse for the pending offences of Criminal Conspiracy and Unlawful Possession of Prohibited Firearms already filed in a Court of competent jurisdiction in Lokoja for which he will be arraigned without further delay,” the statement read in part.
The statement read further that Melaye was arraigned in Abuja today for criminal conspiracy, causing damage to government property, attempted suicide and escape from lawful custody.
Melaye’s arraignment in court today according to the police was subsequent to his discharge from the National Hospital after he was confirmed fit for trial.
The Senator landed in the National Hospital after jumping out of a moving police vehicle on Tuesday, April 24.
The police vehicle was conveying him to Lokoja, Kogi State where he is expected to be interrogated by the police in connection with the allegation that he armed some thugs and in relation to other criminal activities.
The police subsequently accused him of making an attempt to commit suicide by jumping out of the vehicle conveying him and falling on the ground, with a threat to implicate the police for his supposed death.
He was also said to have resisted a further attempt by the police to re-arrest him with the help of some persons who allegedly threatened to injure the police officers if they tried to arrest him.