Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has commended the judgement of the Court Of Appeal which upheld the earlier judgement of the Kogi State National Assembly Election Tribunal nullifying the election of a senator, Dino Melaye.
In a judgment delivered Friday morning, the appellate court agreed with the lower tribunal which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in the senatorial district.
Messrs Bello and Melaye have been at loggerheads for over three years now. They were initially political allies.
The governor in a statement by his spokesperson, Mohammed Onogwu, on Friday stated that it further vindicates his earlier position that the opposition PDP manipulated the elections.
He praised the judiciary for being “unbiased, independent and impartial.”
In the statement titled ”Kogi West Appeal Court Verdict: Attestation that Judiciary is Impartial”, the Governor also felicitated with Smart Adeyemi, Mr Melaye’s rival, on his victory at the courts.
The governor said “in spite of the intimidation, unnecessary accusations and rumour-mongering, the tribunal and the Court Of Appeal have lived up to their expectations by dispensing justice without fear or favour”.
”For upholding the petition by Senator Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and ordering that a fresh election be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the constituency, the tribunal, led by Justice A.O. Chijioke and the Appeal Court have jointly proved to the world that the people’s mandate was stolen in the last Kogi West Senatorial Election.
“The courts did not decide in a vacuum but acted on the basis of the merits and demerits of the case before them.
“The appeal court and the entire judiciary, therefore, deserves our commendation for further strengthening the democratic and electioneering processes in Nigeria.”
Mr Bello congratulated the people of Kogi West Senatorial District, noting that the judgement was a reclamation of their ‘stolen’ mandate.
He said he was confident the people will turn out en mass to elect Mr Adeyemi of the APC in the re-run election which date shall be announced by INEC in due course.