Bayelsa State governorship electoral petitions tribunal has dismissed the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress, APC 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 3-man panel led by Justice Kazeem Alogba held that Sylva and its party failed to prove their case with credible evidence, and that criminal allegations of various electoral offences, which the petitioners stated affected the outcome of the election were not proven beyond reasonable doubt.
The tribunal also held that the INEC was right and had the power to have cancelled the supplementary election said to have held on December 6, 2015, stressing 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”.
The panel held further that there was evidence that the earlier supplementary election scheduled to hold on December 6, 2015, was marred by widespread violence, malpractices and irregularities.
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 contended 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.
…Judgment victory for democracy, Beyelsans – Dickson
Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson has applauded the judgment of Election Petitions Tribunal, which upheld his victory as elected governor, describing it as a “victory for democracy and Bayelsans”.
The governor, in a statement yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, also commended the judiciary “for upholding our nation’s democracy and once again acquitting itself as the bastion of our democracy.”
The governor, according to Iworiso-Markson, praised Bayelsans for voting for him and his party on conviction and stood to protect their votes.
The governor, who regretted the loss of lives and property during the election, decried the “intimidation of voters” which he regarded as a failure of institution.
Dickson, however, said that the judgement indicated that “the resolve of the people did not go in vain” as he canvassed for “greater vigilance to protect democracy” in the country.
He said, “We want to use this opportunity to thank the good people of Bayelsa State for voting en-masse for the PDP and defending their votes even in the face of such virulent intimidation and harassment. This judgement is clearly a victory for democracy and the resilient and courageous people of Bayelsa.”
The governor also commended the judiciary for its role as the defender of the constitution, saying that without a fearless and independent judiciary, democracy is imperiled.
According to him, it was not the election that was on trial per se but the judiciary itself, adding that the judgement of the tribunal validated the saying that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man.