Over 131 lawyers including 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 contested the election under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and defeated incumbent occupant of the seat and former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Smart Adeyemi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He was thereafter given certificate of return by the Independent National Electiral Commission (INEC).
Speaking with journalists on Friday in Abuja, Melaye expressed optimism that he “will beat Adeyemi silly at the tribunal, even if election is conducted 100 times.”
He said, “This is not a matter of boast, I have defeated him and I will also defeat him, even if election is conducted 100 times, provided the election is free and fair. Over 131 lawyers including two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) such as Ricky Terfa, Femi Falana and Festus Keyamo have offered to give me free legal services (pro bono).”
Adeyemi has taken Melaye before the National Assembly Petitions Tribunal sitting in Lokoja, citing alleged irregularities in the conduct of the election as well as the result declared by INEC, on March 28, 2015.
In the petition filed by his counsel, Mr J.O. Olatoke (SAN), Adeyemi said that Melaye was not duly elected or returned by the majority of the lawful votes cast during the election adding that he (Adeyemi) should be declared the winner.
The petitioner said he scored the majority of lawful votes cast during the election and ought to have been declared the winner.
According to the petitioner, the declaration of Melaye as winner was wrongful and invalid.
“Melaye was declared the winner of the election because of wrong and/or incorrect computation of lawful votes cast and intentional omission of collating results of the polling units won by the petitioners and counting of spoilt ballots in his favour,” Adeyemi added.
He equally sought an order withdrawing or nullifying the CoR, already issued to Melaye as the winner of the election and then directing INEC, which is the third respondent in the petition to issue a fresh CoR to him, as according to him, he scored the highest number of lawful votes cast at the election contrary to the result declared by the INEC.