Appeal court affirms Dickson Bayelsa governor
• Throws out suit by Sylva, APC
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has upheld the election of Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson.
In a unanimous decision, a five-man panel, presided by Justice Jimi Bada, resolved the five issues in the appeal by former governor, Timipre Sylva, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in favour of Dickson and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Dickson commended the judiciary for asserting its independence in protecting the sanctity of the ballot and upholding itself as defender of the nation’s democracy.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, he called on Sylva to stop flagrant abuse of judicial processes and needless distractions aimed at overheating the polity.
The court held that Sylva and the APC failed to prove allegations of corruption, non-compliance, gross violation of the electoral act and other malpractices.
It faulted the ground upon which the appellants based their case, that the State Resident Electoral Commissioner unilaterally cancelled the December 6, 2015 election, having participated actively in the rescheduled election of January 9, 2016.
Bada added that the decision to postpone the said election was taken by the Independent National Electoral Commission and stakeholders, and was established beyond doubt.
“The contention of the appellants has no merit. They were expected to leave evidence, to prove their claim that the election was marred by irregularities, electoral malpractices, allocation of votes, and gross violation of the electoral act. The appellants did not prove these allegations.
“I am in total agreement with the judgment of the lower tribunal because its decision was based on the evidence placed before it,” Bada said.
It will be recalled that Sylva and the APC had challenged the election of Dickson at the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on the ground that Dickson was not lawfully returned by INEC through majority votes.
Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, Jonathan Oburbite, said the judgment meant Dickson’s victory at the polls was truly the people’s mandate.