Sylva to appeal judgment, says Bayelsa election tribunal biased

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Timipre Sylva, have vowed to appeal the judgment of the governorship election tribunal.

Sylva who spoke through his lawyer, Felix Okorotie, immediately after the judgment described it as a miscarriage of justice.

In his reaction Media Adviser to Sylva, Doifie‎ Buokoribo, accused the tribunal justices of bias as he expressed optimism that the judgment would be overturned by the higher courts.

“This judgment cannot stand. We tested their judgment before up to the Supreme Court and we won, this very one cannot be an exception”.

The Bayelsa State Governorship Electoral Tribunal sitting in Abuja Tuesday upheld the election of Seriake Dickson as the governor of the state.

The tribunal held that from evidence adduced before it, the election of December 6, 2015 in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area was inconclusive, and was rightfully rescheduled by INEC through the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).

Accordingly, the tribunal dismissed the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Timipre Sylva, for lacking in merit.

It held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations of violence and non-compliance to the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The three man tribunal led by Justice Kazeem Alogba held that on the questions of non-voting and snatching of electoral materials by thugs of the PDP, the petitioners failed to substantiate the allegations.

According to the Tribunal, “allegations of acts of criminality, violence and snatching of ballot boxes, the onus of proof lies on the shoulders of the petitioners to prove beyond all reasonable doubt.

“It is trite that he who asserts must prove. The petitioners must adduced ‎by cogent and verifiable evidence beyond reasonable doubt

“Petitioners fell short of the requirements to prove allegations of non- voting ‎by calling only seven witnesses instead of calling witnesses from each of the polling units.

“The criminal allegations were not proved by the petitioners as required by law which is beyond reasonable doubt.”

The tribunal further cancelled a substantial number of forms EC8 which is the results sheets of the election on the ground that they did not contain the signatories or stamps of INEC officials as required by section 63 (2) of the Electoral Act.

“A substantial number of the results sheets tendered by the petitioners did not contained signatories and stamp of INEC officials.

“The DVD tendered by the petitioners ‎rather than help their case contradicted their evidence that the Residence Electoral Commission (REC) did not adduced reason for the cancellation of the December 6, 2015 election in Southern Ijaw.

“The REC did not unilaterally cancel the election but INEC did and gave reasons for the cancellation to include serious violence and irregularities. The REC clearly stated that election was inconclusive as a result of violence.

“To save the integrity of the process, INEC decided to cancel the election and this was clearly explained by the REC in the DVD tendered by the petitioners themselves”.

The tribunal said from the evidence before it, ‎the December 6. 2015 governorship election in Southern Ijaw Local Government was inconclusive as results were not collated from the wards.

“Election is process‎ and once any aspect of process is not completed, you cannot say that the election was completed”.

‎In dismissing the case, the tribunal held that the petitioners did not deserve the reliefs sought in their petition.

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