Bayelsa State Government Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja will on April 11, 2016 deliver ruling in an application filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Timipre Sylva, seeking an order to allow him inspect the election materials used for the December 5, 2015 and January 9, 2016 rerun governorship elections held in the state.
The Tribunal chairman, Justice Kazeem Alogba, gave the date yesterday after taking arguments from parties in the petition challenging the election and declaration of Chief Seriake Dickson as governor of the state.
In the motion on notice filed and argued by Mr. Sebastine Hon on behalf of the petitioner, Chief Timipre Sylva, an order of the Tribunal was sought to compel the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to allow the petitioner inspect election materials used for the polls.
Among the 37 materials sought to be inspected are the ballot papers used and thumb printed and counted as valid, the ballot papers recorded as spoilt, un-used and print out of records of accreditation as captured by the Smart Card Reader.
Others are the voter register in all the polling units and the eight Local Government Areas INEC result sheets, security report on the election, appointed observers’ reports, video and audio reports on the election and letters of complaints of irregularities and malpractices during the election addressed to INEC.
Moving the motion, predicated on seven grounds, Sylva’s counsel, Hon prayed the Tribunal to grant the request since the electoral body, which conducted the election and is in possession of the items, did not oppose the application.
Hon said that in law, the facts deposed to in an affidavit and not challenged by way of counter affidavit, are deemed admitted by the respondents by the force of law.
The counsel argued that the counter affidavit filed by Governor Dickson through his counsel, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, was misconceived and misplaced because it did not address the issues raised in the petitioner’s motion.
The petitioner’s lawyer argued that it was wrong of the governor (2nd Respondent) to have claimed that the petitioner’s motion was vague because the documents sought to be inspected by the petitioner are well pleaded in the petition and in line with section 151 of the Electoral Act 2010.
However, in his opposition to the request, Governor Dickson urged the Tribunal to refuse the application for lacking in merit.
Oyetibo submitted that the prayers in the application of Silva did not support what he wanted the Tribunal to do for him.
The Governor’s counsel specifically insisted that the petitioner’s request was vague because it failed to mention the author or maker of the material sought to be inspected.
Besides, Dickson’s counsel claimed that the petitioner failed to give reasons why he wanted to inspect the materials used for the election, adding also that the request also violated the section 104 of the Evidence Act because the mandatory fee for certification of the materials has not been paid by the petitioner.
Oyetibo also submitted that his client has every right to oppose the inspection of the election materials by reason of fair hearing because the inspection, if carried out, can have direct negative consequences on the Governor, his client.
He urged the dismissal of the application for lacking in merit.
Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kazeem Alogba fixed April 11, 2016 to deliver ruling on whether to allow the inspection of the materials or not.

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