Bayelsa: Tribunal Confirms Dickson’s Election | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bayelsa: Tribunal Confirms Dickson’s Election

Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, Ramadan
Posted: Jul 27, 2016 at 4:33 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

 … Verdict Victory For Democracy, Bayelsa People—Dickson



The Governorship Election Tribunal for Bayelsa sitting in Abuja on Tuesday upheld the election of Governor Seriake Dickson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr. Timipre Sylva and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), on January 30 challenged his return as governor by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the tribunal.

INEC had declared Dickson as winner of the December 5, 2015 and January 9, 2016 re-run governorship election.

In his judgment, the tribunal chairman, Justice Kazeem Alogba, held that there were no evidence to prove wide spread illegality during the election.

Alogba, who led two other Justices, further held that Sylva and his party failed to prove their case with credible evidence.

He also held that the allegations of various criminal and electoral offences which the petitioners stated affected the outcome of the election were not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

“The petition was not backed by proof of required standard and therefore lacks merit,’’ he said.

Alogba also held that INEC was right and had the power to have cancelled the supplementary election conducted on December 6, 2015 with proved evidence of malpractices.

He further held that contrary to the petitioners’ contention, the decision to cancel the December 6, 2015 poll was not unilaterally taken by the resident electoral commissioner.

The tribunal chairman said evidence showed that the decision was taken by INEC national headquarters.

“There was sufficient evidence that the earlier supplementary election scheduled to hold on December 6, 2015, was marred by widespread violence, malpractices and irregularities,’’ Alogba held.

“In the light of this, the petition filed against the victory of Mr. Dickson Seriake in the Bayelsa State governorship election fails.

“Seriake is therefore duly returned as governor having scored the highest votes in that election,’’ he said.

Mr. Sebastine Hon (SAN), counsel to Sylva, had alleged widespread malpractices against the PDP in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, during the December 5 and December 6, 2015 governorship election, and the re-run held on January 9, 2016.

He claimed that the resident electoral commissioner erred by failing to complete the election process, which was declared inconclusive.

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 parts of the state.

Sylva argued that the impact of the illegality were substantial in parts of Sagbama, Yenogoa, Nembe, Ogbia,and Ekeremor local government areas.

However, Mr. Taye Oyetibo (SAN), counsel to Seriake, had opposed the petition, and urged the tribunal to dismiss it.

Oyetibo said that the allegations were not backed by substantial evidence.

Meanwhile, Governor Dickson who spoke through a statement signed by Daniel Iworiso-Markson, his Chief Press Secretary, said that the judgment also “indicated that the resolve of the people did not go in vain”.

He also commended the judiciary “for upholding our nation’s democracy and once again acquitting itself as the bastion of our democracy.”

“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 judgment is clearly a victory for democracy and the resilient and courageous people of Bayelsa,” he said.