APC and Timipre Sylva Demand Disbandment of Bayelsa Election Tribunal

By Milcah Tanimu

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate in the Bayelsa State election, Timipre Sylva, have raised allegations of bias against the election petition tribunal in Abuja and demanded its immediate disbandment.

Accusing the tribunal, led by Justice Adekunle Adeleye, of partiality, the APC and Sylva have called for the formation of a new panel to handle their case challenging the reelection of Governor Duoye Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrujakpo.

Following the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of Diri as the winner with 175,196 votes, defeating Sylva who secured 110,108 votes, the APC and Sylva approached the tribunal to contest the outcome of the November 11, 2023, gubernatorial election.

However, dissatisfaction arose when the tribunal ordered the petitioners to present their 234 witnesses within a seven-day timeframe, allowing only eight witnesses to be called per day instead of the planned 25.

Citing this restriction, the petitioners were compelled to conclude their case prematurely, having presented only 49 witnesses out of the planned 234.

In addition, the petitioners alleged that the tribunal had already made judgments regarding the authenticity of polling unit results before the conclusion of the case, a claim supported by discrepancies found in the record of proceedings.

Expressing their loss of confidence in the tribunal’s neutrality, the APC and Sylva requested the immediate disbandment of the current panel and the formation of a new one to ensure a fair trial.

Furthermore, they demanded an indefinite adjournment of proceedings until the Court of Appeal President makes a decision on the matter.

In response, Justice Adeleye adjourned the case indefinitely, awaiting the Court of Appeal President’s ruling on the allegations leveled against the tribunal.


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