Dickson floors Sylva again as Appeal Court turns down annul request

Bayelsa state governor Seriake Dickson has retained his office as the Court of Appeal in Abuja turned down the request to annul his election.

In a unanimous decision on Thursday, the five-man panel of Justices dismissed the joint appeal the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate in the state, Mr. Timipre Sylva.

The panel led by Justice Rotimi Olukayode Bada, held that the appeal lacked merit, even as it upheld the July 26 verdict of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

The tribunal had declared Dickson of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the bona-fide winner of the gubernatorial contest.

The appellants prayed the appellate court to set-aside the decision of the tribunal, sack Dickson and order fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Sylva who is a former governor of the state and his party, among other things, contended that the tribunal misled itself, misapplied the law and came to wrong conclusion in its verdict when it declined to void the election which they said was fraught with manifest irregularities.

They argued that the tribunal erred in law when it held that the reasons INEC gave on why it cancelled election result in some parts of the state was within the provision of section 26(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010.

They argued that Section 26(1) of the Electoral Act made no provision for “cancellation” of election, but “postponement” of election.

“The phrase ‘other emergencies’ under section 26(1) of the Electoral Act is limited to the action of INEC ‘postponing’ an election and not ‘cancelling’ one that had already taken place”.

They further argued that the tribunal Judges, “misdirected themselves in law when they held that the appellants failed to prove and or tender any documents showing that election results had been uploaded on the database of INEC before the cancellation of the election and that such failure not only meant abandonment of pleading, but withholding of evidence, which if tendered, would be fatal to the appellants”.

The petitioners had on January 30, gone before the tribunal to challenge the declaration of Dickson as winner of both the December 5, 2015 and January 9, 2016, supplementary poll, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

They alleged that the election was characterised by malpractices, intimidation of voters, hijacking of electoral materials, non-voting and non-collation of results in substantial parts of Sagbama, Yenogoa, Nembe, Ogbia,and Ekeremor Local Government Areas.

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