Bayelsa Guber: Tribunal Reserves Judgment in Sylva’s Petition Against Diri

By Milcah Tanimu

The Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has kept its judgment pending in a petition filed by Timipre Sylvia, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, against the declaration of Douye Diri as the state’s governor following the November 2023 election.

Justice Adekunle Adeleye, the tribunal’s chairman, announced in Abuja on Monday that the judgment would be delivered within the 180 days allowed by law.

Adeleye stated that all parties involved in the petition would be notified once the judgment delivery date is set.

During Monday’s proceedings, the petitioners, Sylvia and APC, presented their final written addresses, urging the tribunal to nullify Diri’s declaration as the election winner.

Their lead counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, argued that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wrongfully excluded results before declaring Diri the winner. He emphasized that INEC did not refute the allegation of wrongful exclusion by failing to summon the state’s election result collation officer to testify.

Ikpeazu urged the tribunal to impartially decide the petition based on the evidence presented by the petitioners, especially since INEC did not challenge the allegations.

However, Diri’s counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, contended that Sylvia’s petition lacked substantial evidence and was frivolous. Uche argued that Sylvia failed to fulfill the burden of proof required by law.

Uche pointed out that Sylvia’s petition was based on the alleged refusal of INEC to collate results in three local government areas but failed to provide sufficient evidence to support the claim.

Moreover, Uche highlighted that Sylvia did not present essential documents like the voter register, BVAS machines, and form EC8A for the purported election.

Additionally, Uche noted that Sylvia did not testify before the tribunal to substantiate his claims. He urged the tribunal to disregard the testimony of a former Police Commissioner who had personal issues with Diri.

INEC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) both advocated for the dismissal of the petition, asserting that the petitioners failed to establish their allegations beyond reasonable doubt.

The tribunal’s decision is anticipated following the arguments presented by all parties involved.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *