Traditional rulers from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State yesterday told the state governorship election petition tribunal that the January 9, 2016, gubernatorial election that produced Governor Henry Seriake Dickson was free, fair, credible, and without any violence.
The monarchs, who were subpoenaed by the tribunal sitting in Abuja, said that the election was free, fair and conducted in conformity with the Electoral Act 2010 and other relevant laws in their region.
In their separate testimonies before the tribunal in the witness box, the paramount ruler of Emiwari community of Southern Ijaw, Job David Darius told the tribunal that contrary to the claim of the petitioner that the election was marred with irregularities and violence, the election was peaceful and orderly.
The monarch, who voted at Unit 4, Ward 12, tendered his permanent voter card he used to vote in the election to substantiate his evidence that the election was free and fair.
In his own evidence, another monarch, Ayawe Gomedi Dikko also corroborated the evidence of his colleague, insisting that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, performed credibly in the conduct of the election which he said was free and fair.
He also tendered his Permanent Voter’s Card to buttress the fact that he voted at Polling Unit 23, Ward 4 of his community.
On his part, His Royal Highness, Mangiri Clifford Nange of Olugbori community of Southern Ijaw also testified to the credibility of the January 9 governorship election, insisting that the election was peaceful, credible and without violence.
The monarchs were led in evidence by Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), lead counsel to the governor, and were cross-examined by counsel to INEC, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) and Mr. Sebastine Hon (SAN), counsel to the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate, Mr Timipre Silva, who are the petitioners.
Earlier, the tribunal overruled the objection raised by the APC governorship candidate against the appearance of the traditional rulers on the ground that the subpoena issued on them was wrong and unnecessary in law.
He contended that the monarchs had already deposed to the witness statements on oath and ought not to make fresh evidence outside the earlier statement on oath.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that Governor Seriake Dickson opened his defence on Monday in the petition by the APC candidate, Timipre Sylva, challenging his election as governor of the state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
This was after the INEC closed its case before the election tribunal sitting in Abuja on Monday.
The electoral body had told the tribunal that the election that produced Governor Dickson was free, fair and was held in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.
Its lead counsel, Chief Awomolo called two witnesses who testified to the credibility of the election.
As testified by Justine Adie, a civil servant and the electoral officer in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state, the January 9 was free, fair and in conformity with the Electoral law.
He told the tribunal under cross-examination by counsel to Governor Dickson and that of the PDP that no report of violence was recorded during the election.
Adie further admitted that the agents of various political parties, including the APC, signed the results of the election.

READ ALSO  President Buhari’s Full Speech