SERIAKE DICKSON FLOORS SYLVA AT ELECTIONS PETITION TRIBUNAL

The Bayelsa State Governorship Electoral Petitions Tribunal on Tuesday dismissed the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate in the last governorship election in the state, Timipre Sylva, challenging the victory of the incumbent Governor of the state, Seriake Dickson.

The three-man panel of the tribunal led by Justice Kazeem Alogba, in dismissing the petition, held that Sylva and its party failed to prove their case with credible evidence.

It held that criminal allegations of various electoral offences which the petitioners stated affected the outcome of the election were not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
It held that the petition was not backed by proof and required standard.

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Sylva and the APC had on January 30, 2016 filed their petition challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of Dickson and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party as the winner of the governorship election with the supplementary ones held on December 5, 2015 and January 9, 2016.

The election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and some other parts of was initially rescheduled to take place on December 6, 2015, but was cancelled after it was marred at the early stage by widespread violence.

The petitioner had alleged that the election was marred by malpractices, intimidation of voters, hijacking of electoral materials, no-voting and non-collation of results in substantial parts of Sagbama, Yenogoa, Nembe, Ogbia,and Ekeremor Local Government Areas.

The petitioners also contented that the INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state lacked the power to unilaterally cancel the supplementary election scheduled in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area for December 6, 2015 and rescheduled it to January 9, 2016.

But the tribunal in its judgment held that the INEC was right and had the power to have cancelled the supplementary election said to have held on December 6, 2015.

It held that contrary to the petitioners’ contention, the decision to cancel the December 6, 2015 poll was not unilaterally taken by the REC, but was a decision taken by INEC and “merely announced by the REC”.

It held that there was evidence that the earlier supplementary election scheduled to hold on December 6, 2015, was marred by widespread violence, malpractices and irregularities.

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